The Kerala government on Saturday enhanced the daily limit of pilgrims who could participate in this year’s monthly (Karkkidaka) pooja in Sabrimala has been increased from 5,000 to 10,000.
The state had allowed the temple to resume monthly rituals at Sabrimala from 16 to 18 July subject to strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols. A maximum of 5,000 devotees was allowed through the online booking system.
Covid-19 protocol, including wearing masks and social distancing, will be strictly followed. Those who wish to visit the temple will have to provide a complete COVID-19 vaccination certificate or a negative RT-PCR report within 48 hours of the visit.
The announcement by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was made along with relaxations on certain activities like opening of electronic shops, film shooting and the number of people allowed into places of worship. Tn view of Bakrid (Eid-ul-Azha) being celebrated on July 21 in the state, textiles, footwear shops, jewellery, fancy stores, shops selling home appliances and electronic items, all types of repairing shops and shops selling essential items shall be allowed to open on July 18, 19 and 20 from 7 AM to 8 PM in category A, B and C areas. In D category areas, these shops can function only on July 19, he said.
Explaining the four-level categories of areas based on Test Positivity Rate (TPR) of less than five per cent are included in category A, those with 5 to 10 per cent are included in category B, areas with 10 to 15 per cent in category C and those above 15 per cent will be in category D. “Along with the other permitted activities, electronic shops and electronic repair shops can also be opened on all days from 7 AM to 8 PM in category A and B areas and during permitted days in other categories," he said.
Besides that, beauty parlors and barber shops can function for hairstyling only on the days on which other shops are permitted in A and B category areas, he said and added that owners of such establishments should ensure that their staff have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Places of worship can be allowed with a maximum of 40 people on special occasions of celebration, the Chief Minister said and added that people in charge there should ensure that the number is maintained.