In view of the coronavirus pandemic, and declining Covid-19 cases, states have eased restrictions and released SOPs ahead of the festive season. Recently, India’s Covid-19 cases have declined as the county has ratcheted up the vaccination process significantly. Meanwhile, the central government told states to ensure no large gatherings during the upcoming festival season.
Here is a list of states where restrictions have been eased.
The Mumbai civic body has said no ‘garba’ events will be allowed during the upcoming Navratri festival and the civic body has capped the height of Goddess Durga idols to four feet for community mandals and two feet for household ones. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) urged citizens to scrupulously follow COVID-19 protocols and keep celebrations low-key in view of the pandemic as it issued guidelines and standard operating procedure (SOP) for the nine-day-long Navratri festival which begins on October 7.
An official said the BMC has urged people to celebrate the festival in a low-key manner and asked ‘sarvajanik’ (public) mandals to take permission from the civic body via the online mode for installing Goddess Durga idols in pandals (marquees).
Authorities have said that Mandals should arrange online darshan of idols to avoid crowding and use Facebook and other social media platforms to reach out to devotees. And only five people can take part in immersion of household idols and 10 devotees in those installed by community groups. In both cases, people taking part in immersion should be fully vaccinated against coronavirus.
The Gujarat state government has relaxed the Covid night curfew by one hour in eight cities. It also permitted organisation of garba events in Navratri in housing societies and on streets during the nine-day-long festival, starting October 7. Authorities have limited the crowd limit for gathering to 400 people and the government has said that participants of Navratri events must be fully vaccinated against coronavirus. The restrictions have been eased- now 400 people can attend marriages instead of the earlier limit of 150, and for funerals, the cap on attendees has been increased to 100 from earlier 40.
The government has also allowed hotels and restaurants to use 75% of their sitting capacity instead of the earlier limit of 60%. The government has increased the timing of public parks by an hour from 9 pm to 10 pm.
Delhi government has banned public celebrations of Chhat Puja including in grounds, temples and river banks. The government has allowed Ramlila and Durga Puja gatherings in districts with a positivity rate of 5% or below with permission from the district magistrates. A maximum of 50% hall capacity with a ceiling of 200 people is allowed in closed spaces.
The Uttar Pradesh government issued guidelines in view of Shardiya Navratri, Vijayadashami, Dussehra, and Chehallum and has asked people to maintain law and order and communal harmony during the time of the festivals. The idols should be installed in the traditional but empty space, their size should be kept as small as possible and there should not be more people than the capacity of the ground, the guidelines said.
The Karnataka state government has allowed 100% occupancy in cinema halls and pubs from October in states where there is a 1% Covid-19 positivity rate. Additionally, at least one dose of the vaccine is mandatory for the film-goers.
The Kerala government has permitted in-house dining for hotels, restaurants, and bars with 50% capacity. The staff should be fully vaccinated, the order stated. Besides, indoor stadiums and swimming pools can be opened for people who have taken both doses of the anti-coronavirus vaccine.