Bhubaneswar: The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) Tuesday announced that all religious places under its jurisdiction will reopen for devotees starting February 12.
The civic body made the decision in light of the decrease in daily COVID-19 cases.
The BMC issued the following safety guidelines, which are to be strictly adhered to by all parties involved:
- Only those devotees, who are fully vaccinated (if eligible for vaccination) will be allowed inside the temple premises. Either hard copy or soft copy of the certificate may be relied upon for verification. Further, the devotees shall be required to bring Aadhar/ voter ID or any other photo ID card for identification. However, no devotee shall be allowed inside the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. Darshan will be allowed from a safe distance only. Devotees will not be allowed to make offerings in the temple until further orders.
- Children aged below 15 years will be allowed inside the religious places with proper ID proof and only under the supervision of their parents or adult relatives.
- For Lord Lingaraj temple, maximum 100 devotees at a time will be allowed from Singhadwar to Ada-Katha. However, Sahan darshan/ Garvagruha darshan must be completely prohibited.
- Similarly, all other religious places such as mosques, churches and gurdwaras will also be allowed to open from the same date for fully vaccinated devotees.
- Social distancing should not be violated under any circumstance. Authorities and management of the respective religious institutions should ensure that six feet distance is maintained between the devotees.
- Authorities and management of respective temples, mosques, churches and gurdwaras should ensure that only the priests and servitors, who are fully vaccinated, are allowed to perform the rituals. The priests and servitors must wear mask at all times in adherence to COVID protocols.
- All devotees must wear masks and maintain appropriate social distancing of six feet from each other at all times.
- The temple, mosque, church and gurdwara authorities must make adequate provision for hand washing or hand sanitising for devotees at the entry and exit points.
- Chewing betel leaves and tobacco and spitting must be strictly prohibited inside and outside the premises
- Persons with SARI / ILI like symptoms should not be allowed inside.
- Persons belonging to other vulnerable groups such as people with co-morbidities, elderly persons, and pregnant women have been advised not to visit religious institutions.
The guidelines will be in effect till February 28.
The state government had previously authorised the Municipal Commissioners January 31 to grant permission to regulate public worship at religious places based on assessment of the COVID situation in the respective localities.