Want to visit temple, church or mosque from June 8? Know the Unlock rules

Places of worship, outside containment zones, are set to open from June 8 in India. Photo: Shutterstock
Places of worship, outside containment zones, are set to open from June 8 as India takes baby steps towards unlocking after over two months of lockdwon. In a detailed note for places of worship, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that all such places will ensure the protocol of social distancing and face masks will be mandatory for gaining entrance. The SOPs have been laid out to prevent spread of coronavirus infections.

Here are the guidelines that worshippers and religious institution need to remember

Who all are advised not to visit religious institutions like temples, mosques, gurudwaras and churches

1. Person above the age of 65 years
2. Children below the age of 10 years
3. Pregnant women
4. Persons with comorbidity

Dos for worshippers

1. Maintain distance: Individuals must maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet in public places as far as feasible
2. Face masks: Use of face covers or masks will be mandatory
3. Wash hands frequently with soap, even when they are not visibly dirty
4. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers
5. Respiratory etiquette: Cover your mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing with a tissue/handkerchief/flexed elbow. Dispose off used tissues properly.
6. Individuals are advised to use Aarogya Setu App
7. Bring your own prayer mat, if possible

Don'ts for worshippers

1. Spitting is strictly prohibited
2. Touching of idols, holy books will be prohibited
3. Entrance without face masks will be forbidden
4. In case an individual has fever, they may not be allowed to enter the premises
5. Avoid physical greetings
6. Do not take prasad

Dos for religious places

1. It is mandatory for all religious institutions to station hand sanitizer and thermal screeners at the entrance
2. Only asymptomatic persons should be allowed in the premises.
3. Only those who have face masks/covers must be allowed to enter the premises
4. Staggering of visitors to be done, if possible.
5. Footwear must be taken off inside own vehicle. If needed they should be kept in separate slots for each individual / family by the persons themselves.
6. Institutions must ensure separate entry and exits for visitors
7. Ensure social distancing
8. Room temperature setting of all air conditioning devices should be in the range of 24-30 degree C, relative humidity should be in the range of 40-70%, intake of fresh air should be as much as possible and cross ventilation should be adequate.
9. Use, as far as feasible, recorded devotional music during the service
10. Community kitchens/langars/“Ann-daan”, etc. at religious places should follow physical distancing norms while preparing and distributing food.
11. Frequent cleaning and disinfection must be maintained

MoHFW guidelines for religious institutions: Don'ts 

1. Touching of idols, holy books will be prohibited
2. Large gatherings/congregation prohibited
3. Avoid physical greetings
4. Do not give prasad
5. Avoid choir, group singing
6. Avoid common prayer mats
7. No sprinkling of holy water inside religious place

Important guidelines - in case of a Covid suspect/confirmed case in the premises

1. Place the ill person in a room or area where they are isolated from others.
2. Immediately inform the nearest medical facility (hospital/clinic) or call the
state or district helpline.
3. A risk assessment will be undertaken by the designated public health
authority (district RRT/treating physician) and accordingly further action be
initiated regarding management of case, his/her contacts and need for
4. Disinfection of the premises to be taken up if the person is found positive.
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