As Odisha battles a new wave of the COVID pandemic, the State Special Relief Commissioner on Wednesday issued a slew of new guidelines for strict adherence by public during observance/celebration of religious festivals/ festivities/ functions and rituals
In view of observance/celebrations of local festivals/ festivities/ functions/ rituals, during which the social and religious congregations have extensive potential of spreading COVID-19 pandemic, the Collectors, SPs of all districts, Police Commissioner of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar and Commissioners of all Municipal Corporations are instructed to ensure the following stipulations in a strict manner.
- Congregations at river banks/ ghats/ ponds/ seashore or near other water bodies to take bath strictly prohibited
- Organisation of melas and other religious congregations/celebrations not allowed
- Religious rituals are allowed in religious places/ places of worship with bare minimum priests/ servitors and staff
- People advised to perform the rituals/puja at their homes with family members only avoiding mass gatherings and adhering to the COVID-19 safety protocols such as physical distancing, use of face mask/ covering and handwashing/ hand sanitizer
- If required, considering local conditions, appropriate restrictions may be imposed on entry of devotees into churches/ temples/ mosques/ religious places/ places of worship and in the celebrations in churches/ temples/mosques/ religious places/places of worship
- Collectors/ Municipal Commissioners may decide the number of persons to attend any such religious ritual/ festival/Puja in their respective jurisdictions with strict adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour and norms. The devotees in these places must ensure Covid-19 safety protocols such as wearing of face masks, physical distancing and handwashing /hand sanitizer
In case of violation of COVID-19 safety protocols, local authorities can take strict action, including criminal action, under relevant acts including the Disaster Management Act, 2005. Such violation shall entail fines for devotees as decided by the local authorities, the SRC said in the order.