Religious Places In Delhi Opened For Devotees

New Delhi: The Delhi government has allowed the reopening of religious places in the city for devotees from Friday with strict adherence to Covid guidelines and standard operating procedure (SOP).

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority issued fresh COVID-19 guidelines on Thursday.

Religious places in the national capital were closed for devotees for over five months, since April 19, following the imposition of a lockdown due to the severe second wave of Covid infections.

Although the Delhi Disaster Management Authority order permitted the entry of devotees to religious places, it prohibited large gatherings there.

It also directed the district magistrates and deputy commissioners of police to ensure strict compliance with Covid-appropriate behaviour in view of the upcoming festivals.

The standard operating procedure (SOP) for religious places to ensure precautions against COVID-19 include allowing entry to only asymptomatic persons, use of face masks, avoiding common mats for prayers and staggering devotees among others.

"No physical offerings like prasad distribution or sprinkling of holy water etc to be allowed inside the religious place," it stated.

Seating arrangements should be made in such a way that adequate physical distancing is maintained. A gap of six feet has to be maintained in queues, and only those with face masks allowed entry.

"Specific markings may be made with sufficient distance to manage the queue and ensure social distancing in the premises. Preferably, separate entry and exits for visitors shall be organised," the noms laid out prepared by the Health Ministry stated.

Air conditioning and ventilation at religious places should follow guidelines of the CPWD that lay down temperature settings in the range of 24-30 degrees Celsius, relative humidity of 40-70 per cent and intake of fresh air, it said.

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Community kitchens, langars, "ann-daan" at religious places should follow physical distancing norms while preparing and distributing food. Recorded devotional songs should be played and choirs should not be allowed, it added.

Other activities permitted and prohibited by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority will continue to be so up to October 15 midnight.

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Press Trust of India

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