Two days before the reopening of temples, mosques and other religious places in India, the Ministry of Home Affairs in its latest directive has prohibited offerings and receiving of prasad and sprinkling of holy water in these religious places. Besides, touching of idols or holy books has also been banned for now to limit the spread of coronavirus. The government has also banned live singing inside the religious places. Only recorded devotional music will be played.
Ahead of the re-opening of religious places across India after almost 75 days, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has also issued a Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) to limit the spread of coronavirus.
The other important guidelines for holy places include:
1. Every entrance must have mandatory hand hygiene and thermal screening provision.
2. Entry will only be given to asymptomatic patients inside the worship places.
3. Only devotees wearing face masks will be allowed to enter to the shrines.
4. Footwears preferably to be taken off inside own vehicle or can be kept in a separate slot for each individual/family outside the worshipping place's premises.
5. Posters on coronavirus-related preventive measures must be displayed inside the premises.
6. Social distancing must be maintained, be it people sitting inside the religious places or standing in a queue.
7. For air conditioning/ventilation, the temperature should be set in the range of 24 degree-30 degree.
8. A large congregation has been banned until the outbreak gets over.
9. The Centre has urged people to bring their own mats, and that common mats inside the holy places have been disallowed.
10. During the preparation or distribution of food via community kitchens/langars/Bhandara, stringent social-distancing rules must be followed.