Uttar Pradesh on Saturday released fresh guidelines ahead of the reopening of places of worship on June 8, mandating that no religious site will open without prior permission from the district admission. No more than five people can gather in a religious place at one time.
The latest rules make it compulsory for places of worship to have alcohol-based sanitisers and thermal scanners at their entrance and allow only asymptomatic people to enter. Those not wearing face masks will be refused entry and devotees should leave their footwear behind in their vehicles.
Touching idols will not be allowed and no 'prasad' distribution will take place. Group singing will be replaced by records.
In an elaborate guidelines issued on Saturday on relaxation of COVID-19 lockdown curbs, the government said the distribution of prasad or sprinkling of holy water too will not be allowed inside religious places after their opening on June 8.
The visitors to religious places will have to use their own mats for sitting there and their managing authorities will have to ensure social distancing in shrines, said Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi.
As per the norms, framed in accordance with the Centre's standard operating procedure, the state government also advised people over 65 years of age, children younger than 10 years, pregnant women and people with various ailments to avoid venturing out in open even after June 8.
The offices and other places having air-conditioners, will have to ensure temperature settings in the range of 24-30 degrees Celsius while relative humidity has to be maintained in the range of 40 to 70 per cent, with continued intake of fresh air, he said.
Similar guidelines have been issued for hotels which have been asked to keep a track of the travel and medical history of guests, he said, adding food courts and restaurants should allow customers only up to 50 per cent of their seating capacities and e-payments have to be encouraged for monetary transactions, he said.
For offices, it has been advised that people suffering from ailments like asthma, cancer, kidney disease should not be deployed in field works and asked instead to work from home, Awasthi said, adding offices reporting one or two positive cases, should be sanitized.
It has to be ensured also that the CCTV cameras installed in shopping malls, restaurants, hotels and other such places are in working condition, he said.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will be informing respective district magistrates and others through video conference about the guidelines and the need to adhere to them strictly, said Awasthi.
The additional chief secretary also said people will have to continue adhering to various anti-COVID precautions, like social distancing, mandatory use of face masks, use of sanitisers etc strictly.