Places of worship reopen in Maharashtra

Vastavam Web: Places of religious worship in Maharashtra, which were shut since the imposition of COVID-19 lockdown in March, reopened on Monday with devotees visiting some of the prominent temples and shrines in the state.

The reopening of the places of worship coincided with the Diwali ‘Padwa’, which is an important festival in the state. Early in the morning, devotees were seen visiting Lord Vitthal’s temple at Pandharpur in Satara, Saibaba’s shrine in Shirdi, Goddess Tulja Bhavani’s temple in Osmanabad and the famous Siddhivinayak temple in Mumbai.

The Siddhivinayak temple’s chairman Aadesh Bandekar on Sunday said only 1,000 devotees will be allowed inside the temple every day in staggered time slots to be booked through a mobile phone application.

As per the standard operating procedures (SOPs) released by the state government, religious places located out of COVID-19 containment zones have been allowed to reopen as per the timings decided by authorities, and devotees will be allowed inside in a staggered manner.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday announced reopening of the places of worship, but also cautioned people, saying it cannot be forgotten that the “demon of coronavirus” still persists and called for following discipline. According to the SOPs laid down by the government, only asymptomatic people will be allowed inside places of worship and wearing of face mask is mandatory for devotees. The number of people to be allowed inside such places in a particular time slot will be decided on the size of the structure and ventilation.

Devotees will have to maintain social distancing, while management of such places will have to conduct thermal scanning and make available hand wash or sanitisers, according to the SOPs. Local authorities can further add any directions to these guidelines taking into consideration local conditions. Footwear should be preferably taken off inside vehicles, the guidelines said.

Source : PTI