Bhubaneswar: Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Pradeep Jena today issued fresh stipulations on observance/celebration of local festivals/festivities during Covid-19 pandemic situation.
The SRC has issued a circular to all Collectors, Superintendents of Police, and Municipal Commissioners in this connection.
“As you know that in some areas of your district, people observe/celebrate local festivals/festivities/functions/rituals during which, social and religious congregations usually take place which have extensive potential of spreading Covid-19 pandemic,” the circular read.
All Collectors, Superintendents of Police and Municipal Commissioners have been instructed in the circular to strictly ensure the following stipulations.
(i) Prohibition of congregations at river banks/ ghats/ ponds/ seashore or near other water bodies to take bath.
(ii) Prohibition of organization / celebration mela.
(iii) Prohibition of religious congregations/ celebrations
(iv) Religious rituals are allowed in religious places/ places of worship with bare minimum priests/ servitors and staff.
(v)People are advised to perform the rituals/puja at their home 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.
(vi) If required, considering local conditions, appropriate restrictions may be imposed on the 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.
(vii) 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.
(viii) In case of violation of COVID-19 safety protocols, local authorities can take strict action including criminal action under relevant acts including Disaster Management Act, 2005.
(ix) Such violation shall entail fines for devotees as decided by the local authorities.