Kerala Positive; Religious places, shopping malls to be opened


Despite a daily surge in Coronavirus cases in Kerala, the state government has given the nod to open religious places, malls, restaurants, hotels from June 9. Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association, Kerala Chapter asked the government not to open all the doors where there is a possibility of people congregating in large numbers.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that places of worship, shrines, shopping malls, hotels, hospitality units, restaurants and offices in Kerala will be open to the public from June 9.

He said these places were opened to the public adhering to the procedures issued by the Central government.  As per the Centre’s guidelines, people aged over 65 and children below ten should stay at home and not allowed in temples. Use of masks, handwashing with soap, use of sanitiser, wherever possible; maintaining six feet distance, thermal checking of temperature, maintenance of registers, and separate entry/exit points, wherever possible are some of the other guidelines.

Apart from the guidelines issued by the Centre, the State government has also come out with few additional instructions to be followed at all these public places.

  1. Distribution of food, refreshments and offertory blessings (prasadam) in places of worship should be avoided.
  2. Do not give sandalwood paste or ashes from a plate.
  3. No handshake or physical touching during ceremonies.
  4. Depending on the size of the place of worship, social distancing arrangements to be made to accommodate about 15 people per 100 square meters, subject to a maximum of 100 people at a time.
  5. Collect the name and phone number of the persons who come to the places of worship. They should bring their own pen.
  6. Work from home should be provided to those living in containment zones.
  7. Lift operators must be present so that everyone does not press the lift buttons.
  8. Railings on ramps and stairs should not be touched. Hearing-impaired persons must wear gloves.
  9. Offices should make arrangement for submitting grievances online and have a mechanism for answering these complaints online. Visitors should refrain from submitting complaints directly.
  10. Malls also should fix the maximum number of people who can be there at a time. There should be record of the name and phone number of visitors.
  11. The plates and glasses served in hotels, restaurants, tea shops and juice shops must be washed in hot water.
  12. Sabarimala visit will be managed by Virtual Queue system with not more than 50 people at one time. A thermal scanner will be installed at Nilakkal, Pampa and Sannidhanam. Use of mask is mandatory. Gloves and mask will be compulsory for Devaswom employees. Children below the age of 10 years and those above 65 years of age will not be allowed as per central guidelines. Pujaris should not distribute prasadam.

Meanwhile, the IMA in a representation to the government has warned against the opening of places where people gather in large numbers. The IMA said that there were various examples of many countries where lockdown was eased and what happened afterwards.


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