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After reopening schools, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has now given permission to open places of worship from October 7 amid strict implementation of Covid guidelines.

Municipal Commissioner Vikram Kumar said directives have been issued to open places of worship along with the guidelines to be followed to contain the spread of Covid. The decision will be applicable in areas under PMC, Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) and Kirkee Cantonment Board (KCB).

All religious places and places of worship outside containment zones can be open for public from October 7 as per the timings to be decided by management, trust or authority.

There should be strict implementation of wearing of face masks and provision of thermal scanning while hand sanitizers and hand washes will be mandatory along with social distancing at the religious places and places of worship.

Only asymptomatic persons with face covers and masks will be allowed to enter. There should be a staggering number of visitors and footwear should be preferably taken off inside a devotee’s vehicle or separate slots at the facilities near religious places.

Effective crowd management at religious places is a must. There should preferably be separate entry and exits for visitors. Citizens have been urged to wash their hands and feet with water and soap before entering the premises.

The touching of statues, idols, holy books is not allowed while large gatherings are still prohibited. The choirs or singing groups will not be allowed in the premises and instead, recorded devotional music and songs should be played.

The directives also asked people to avoid physical contact while greeting each other and said common prayer mats should be avoided. There should be no physical offerings like prasad or sprinkling of holy water inside the premises.

In case a suspected patient is found in the premises, then the person should be immediately isolated from others in a room and get examined by a doctor. The nearby medical facility should also be informed or the district helpline be dialled. A risk assessment will be undertaken by the designated public health authority and accordingly, further action will be initiated regarding management of the case.

The PMC also issued directions for celebration of Navratri festival in a simple way due to the ongoing pandemic. The pandals have to be small and as per the instructions of the local civic body, while no event of Garba, Dandiya and cultural functions should be organised, there should not be more than five people in the pandal. There should not also be any procession during the festival.

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The IndianExpress

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