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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Ahead of the reopening of the Lingaraj temple on December 27, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Friday issued Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for devotees and servitors to keep COVID-19 at bay.

As per the official decision, the gates of the Lingaraj temple would be initially thrown open for the sevayats and their families in the first phase till December 31. The shrine will remain shut for two days on January 1 and 2, 2021. However, the daily rituals will continue as per the schedule, as per a BMC notification.

The general darshan by devotees who are residents of Bhubaneswar will be allowed for a period of two days from January 3, 2021. The prescribed COVID-19 safety protocol will be strictly enforced during the time.

As per the BMC circular, the devotees will have to produce COVID-19 negative report obtained during the last five days before entering the temple.

Tourists and devotees from other parts of the State and country will be allowed inside the temple from January 6, 2021.

As per the SOP released by the BMC, a maximum of 500 devotees will be allowed from Singhadwara to Adakatha till January 30, 2021.

Here are the key highlights of the SOP and instruction for the devotees:

- Sahan darshan/Garvagruha darshan will be completely banned till 31.01.2021. The decision on the maximum nos. of devotees that can be allowed after 31.01.2021 will be made after assessing the COVID situation after 31.01.2021.

- Thermal screening centre and antigen test centre near the temple will be made functional from 03.01.2021 to 15.01.2021 in two batches from 7.00 A.M to 10.00 P.M.

- The antigen testing is mandatory for those who come with close contact with the public such as sevayats, police personnel on duty, flower sellers, samarth sevaks etc.

- All the devotees will have to wear mask appropriately.

- Social distancing of six feet has to be maintained by all the devotees.

- Hand washing/hand sanitizer facility for the devotees will be provided by the temple trust at entry and exit points.

- Spitting inside and outside the premises and chewing of PAN/ Gutkha is strictly prohibited.

- Those with SARI/ILI like symptoms shall not be allowed inside the temple. Other vulnerable group of people such as person with co-morbidities, elderly persons, pregnant women or children below 10 years of age are advised not to visit the temple.

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