As religious places reopen in Maharashtra, the state government issued a fresh set of guidelines for devotees, to avoid the spread of Coronavirus. By Tanvi Jain
Maharashtra: Devotees offer prayers at Shirdi Sai Baba temple; all religious places in the State have been allowed to reopen from today after remaining shut for months.#COVID19 pic.twitter.com/gdJuk3ugKc
— ANI (@ANI) November 16, 2020
As the Maharashtra government has reopened places of worship across the state, including, Siddhivinayak temple, Shirdi Sai Baba temple, Shri Vitthal temple in Satara, and Tulja Bhavani temple in Osmanabad, among others — there are certain safety protocols that devotees need to adhere to in order to stay safe and curb the spread of the virus.
Some of these measures as mentioned in the recently issued SOPs include — permission to enter the premises to be given only to asymptomatic visitors, that too not without a mask, the authorities must make sure to do a thermal screening of all visitors, provide them with hand sanitizer and prohibit large gatherings in order to maintain adequate social distancing.
#Maharashtra: Devotees visited #MumbaDevi temple in #Mumbai after the state government allowed all religious places to reopen from Monday after months of #COVID19 lockdown. (ANI) pic.twitter.com/nBat7VaGMV
— TOI Mumbai (@TOIMumbai) November 16, 2020
The guidelines also mention against the sprinkling of holy water, distribution of prasad, touching of idols or holy books, and also against the entry of children below 10 years of age. Moreover, visitors must be allowed only in limited numbers per day and the timings must also be kept staggered. In fact, for entry into Siddhivinayak and Shirdi Sai Baba temples, devotees must first book a time slot via their official websites. Furthermore, to visit the Shirdi Sai Baba temple, one will need to furbish a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test at the entrance.
“A hundred devotees allowed every hour & 1,000 devotees can visit every day. Devotees have to download Temple’s app & fill in the required info,” Chairman, Shree Siddhivinayak Temple Trust, Mumbai, Aadesh Bandekar told ANI.
#Maharashtra | Sai Baba Temple in Shirdi will open tomorrow after the state government gives a nod to reopen religious places
(Images: ANI) pic.twitter.com/9kbFQt8vRG
— NDTV (@ndtv) November 15, 2020
“We can’t forget that the demon Coronavirus is still among us. Even though this demon is slowly falling silent now, we cannot be complacent. Citizens need to follow discipline. Just like discipline and restraint were observed while celebrating Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi, Navratri and Pandharpur wari (annual pilgrimage), followers of other faiths also celebrated festivals like Eid, Mount Mary festival by keeping the COVID-19 safety protocol in mind,” Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had recently said in a statement as reported by the media.