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Rashmi Ranjan

All the temples in the Capital City within the jurisdiction of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) will reopen from August 23 with strict observance of COVID-19 safety protocols.

According to a notification issued by the BMC, no devotee will be allowed inside the Garva Griha of the temple and will be allowed "Darshari' from a safe distance only. Similarly, there will be no offering of diyas and bhogs at the temples.

Below is the SOP issued by the BMC to be followed at all religious places:

At Lord Lingaraj Temple, a maximum of 100 of devotees will be allowed for darshan from Singhadwar to Adakatha at a time. Sahan darshan and Garvagruha darshan will be completely prohibited.

Similarly, no offering to the lord shall be accepted by the Sebayats and only darshan will be allowed. BMC will do the necessary barricading outside the temple and handover to police for control and restriction on the movement of the public.

All other religious institutions like mosques, churches and gurudwaras will also be allowed to open from August 23.

The religious institution authorities shall ensure that only that many devotees are allowed inside their premises so that social distancing of six-feet among them is maintained. In no case, social distancing norms should be allowed to be violated.

At any point of time, not more than 25 persons will be allowed to be congregated at any religious institutions like temple, mosque, church and gurudwara.

All temple, mosque, church, gurudwara authority shall ensure RT-PCR testing of their priests or sebayats and only RT-PCR negative and final COVID vaccination certificate holder will be allowed to perform rituals. The priests or sebayats shall have to put on mask at all times as per COVID protocol.

All devotees will have to wear mask and maintain social distancing of six feet from each other appropriately at all times.

The temple, mosque, church and gurudwara authorities shall make provision for hand washing or hand sanitizer for the devotees at the entry and exit points.

Spitting inside and outside the premises and chewing of paan or ghutka is strictly prohibited.

The person with SARI/ ILI like symptoms shall not be allowed inside. Other vulnerable group of people such as person with co-morbidities, old age persons, pregnant women or children below 18 years of age are advised not to visit religious institutions.

The above guidelines shall be followed scrupulously by all concerned until further order. Any deviation will attract withdrawal of this permission for that institution, the BMC added.

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