Bhubaneswar: In view of the declining number of fresh Covid-19 cases and overall improvement in the scenario, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) Tuesday decided to reopen religious institutions of all types February 12 subject to strict adherence of Covid guidelines.
BMC’s guidelines said that all temples situated in Bhubaneswar can reopen from February 12 but with strict observance of Covid safety protocols. Only those devotees who are fully vaccinated (if eligible for vaccination) will be allowed inside the temple premises.
For the purpose of ascertaining the fact of full vaccination, ether the hard copy of the certificate or soft copy available in mobile/tablet etc may be relied upon.
The guidelines further stated that devotees shall be required to bring their photo ID card namely Aadhaar or Voter ID or any other photo ID card for identification.
However, no devotee shall be allowed inside the sanctum sanctorum of the temples. Darshan will be allowed from a safe distance only. There shall be no offerings like Bhoga in the temples until further orders.
Children below the age of 15 years shall be allowed inside the temples or religious institutions with proper proof of identification and only under the supervision of their parents or adult relatives.
For Lingaraj Temple, the maximum of 100 devotees will be allowed at a time from Singhadwar to Ada- Katha. However, sanctum sanctorum entry must be completely prohibited.
Similarly, all other religious institutions like Mosques, Churches and Gurudwaras will also be allowed to open from February 12 for fully vaccinated devotees.
The authorities and management of the religious institutions shall ensure that only that many devotees are allowed inside the premises of the religious institution in order to ensure social distancing of six feet between the devotees.
Under no circumstances the social distancing norms should be violated. All religious institutions’ management shall ensure that only the priests and servitors, who are fully vaccinated, are allowed to perform rituals.
They must put on masks at all times in coherence to the Covid protocol. All devotees must wear masks and maintain appropriate social distancing of six feet from each other at all times.
The religious institutions’ authorities must make adequate provisions for hand washing, hand sanitising for the devotees at the entry and exit points. Chewing and spitting of pan and gutka must be strictly prohibited inside and outside the institution premises.
The person with SARI/ILI like symptoms shall not be allowed inside. Persons belonging to other vulnerable groups such as persons with co-morbidities, old age individuals and pregnant women are advised not to visit religious institutions.
The aforementioned BMC guidelines shall be in force till February 28 and must be followed scrupulously by all concerned institutions and individuals alike.