Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray took blessings at Mumbai's Mumba Devi Temple on Thursday as the religious places across the state opened on the occasion of Navratri.
He was accompanied by his wife Rashmi Thackeray and Maharashtra minister and his son Aaditya Thackeray.
In a big development, the Maharashtra government on September 24 announced that the places of religious worship will reopen in Maharashtra for devotees from October 7, which is the first day of Navratri.
SoP issued by the state on religious places:
The state government also released an SOP on preventive measures to contain the spread of COVID 19 in religious places/places of worship. Persons above 65 years of age, persons with comorbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home. Individuals must maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet in public places as far as feasible, use of face cover/mask to be mandatory and spitting to be prohibited.
Further, according to the SOP issued by Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte, entrance will have mandatory hand hygiene and thermal screening provisions, only asymptomatic persons shall be allowed in the premises. Posters/standees on preventive measures about COVID 19 will have to be displayed prominently and audio and video clips to be played to spread awareness on preventive measures. Staggering of visitors will have to be done. The number of people allowed inside the premises in any particular time slot may be decided on factors such as the size of the structure and ventilation by the trust/board along with the local authorities. Preferably separate entries and exits for visitors shall be organised.
Proper crowd management in the parking lots and outside the premises should be organised by duly following social distancing. Specific markings may be made with sufficient distance to manage the queue and ensure social distancing in the premises.
Large gatherings/congregations continue to remain prohibited while touching of statues/idols/holy books will not be allowed. There will be no physical offerings of prasad/distribution or sprinkling of holy water inside the religious places.
In case of a suspect or confirmed case in the premises, the trust/board will have to place the ill person in a room or area where they are isolated from others and mask/face cover should be provided till such time he or she is examined by a doctor. They should immediately inform the nearest medical facility or call the state of district helpline. A risk assessment will be undertaken by the designated public health authority and accordingly, further action will be initiated regarding the management of the case, his/her contacts and the need for disinfection. Moreover, disinfection of the premises will have to be taken up if the person is found positive.
(With inputs from Sanjay Jog)