Unlock 1: As the country is preparing for a calibrated exit from the coronavirus lockdown by easing more restrictions, a host of establishments including religious places, restaurants, hotels and shopping malls are all set to open from Monday.
A token system for regulated entry and no physical offerings like ‘prasad’ will be some of the norms as religious places are opening in a number of states across the country from Monday.
Apart from places of worship, the shopping malls, hotels and restaurants are also opening in most states from Monday after over two months that could pose new challenges to check the spread of the coronavirus.
The SOPs in this regard, which were issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on June 4, will be in place till June 30.
Unlock 1 – Further Relaxes Placed by the Central government:
The Unlock 1 comprises of easing of restrictions from the Central government comes at a time when the country recorded a daily jump of COVID-19 cases by over 9,000 for the fifth straight day on Sunday.
The country registered its highest single-day spike of 9,971 new infections taking the total to 2,46,628 and 287 deaths in the 24 hours since Saturday morning. The Union Health Ministry said that the death toll stood at 6,954.
The number of active COVID-19 cases stands at 1,20,406 while a total of 1,19,292 people had healed and one patient has migrated, the ministry added.
After the Centre issued Unlock 1 guidelines for the shopping malls, hotels, restaurants and religious places in the wake of its reopening, the entry to these places will no longer be the same like before.
As per the SOPs, the malls, cinema halls, gaming arcades and children play areas will continue to be in the prohibited segment. However, the SOPs are advisory in nature and the Centre has left it to the states to fine-tune the details.
Taking the Centre’s guidelines on Unlock 1 seriously, the Punjab government plans to provide a token-based entry to malls as part of its SOPs.
In Gujarat, some of the holy and religious places have decided to organise prayers in shifts and even start a token system to specify time slots to devotees for visits in a bid to maintain social distancing and desist crowding,
On the other hand, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal declared that the hospitals run by the Delhi government and private entities will only treat Delhiites during the coronavirus crisis while the city’s borders will be reopened from Monday.
In the meantime, the Union Culture Ministry approved the opening of 820 centrally protected monuments under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) which has places of worship from June 8, Minister Prahlad Patel said.
Part of the guidelines, the malls in Delhi will be focussing on hourly disinfection of the common areas, contact-less shopping and physical distancing. Moreover, several malls have set up ultraviolet (UV) sterilisation chambers for the patrons to disinfect their belongings.
Operating in line with the Centre’s guidelines on Unlock 1, the Karnataka government has particularised conditions such as social distancing, no distribution of ‘Teertha’ (holy water) or ‘Prasada’, no ringing of temple bells for followers and a bar on special ‘pooja’ or ‘Archana’.
In Goa, churches and mosques in Goa have determined to remain closed for some more time. The Maharashtra government is yet to take a decision on opening religious places for followers in the state.
The guidelines issued by the Centre on Unlock 1 have included rules like allowing only asymptomatic staff, visitors, customers and devotees on the premises, decent crowd management and managing efficient and frequent sanitation, with a particular focus on toilets, drinking and handwashing stations/areas.