No prasad, touching of idols at shrines; govt also issues SOPs for shopping malls, restaurants

Only 50% seating permitted at a time in restaurants

No prasad, touching of idols at shrines; govt also issues SOPs for shopping malls, restaurants

A priest offers puja at a temple that was reopened on the first day of COVID-19 lockdown 5.0, in Kolkata, on June 1, 2020. PTI

New Delhi, June 4

The government on Thursday issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) for restaurants to run in COVID times, stating that only 50% seating permitted at a time. 

The government also issued SOPs for religious places to operate during COVID pandemic.

SOPs bar physical offering of 'prasad', sprinkling of holy water, touching of idols inside shrines. Physical distance norms mandatory to prepare and serve 'langar'.

SOPs were also issued for shopping malls. While malls open children play areas, cinema halls inside malls and gaming arcades will remain closed.

Religious places inside containment zones shall remain closed for public and those outside will be allowed to open, according to the SOPs issued by the Union Health Ministry to contain the COVID-19 spread at such venues.


Also read:

Centre issues SOPs for malls; mandatory thermal screening, cinema halls remain shut

Health Ministry releases SOPs for restaurants, hotels


Places of worship get frequented by a large number of people for spiritual solace and to prevent COVID-19 spread, it is important that required social distancing and other preventive measures are followed in those premises, the ministry said.

In view of the potential threat of the spread of the infection, as far as feasible recorded devotional music or songs may be played and choir or singing groups should not be allowed, the Standard Operating Procedures stated.

Common prayer mats should be avoided and devotees should bring their own mat or piece of cloth which they may take back with them.

“No physical offerings like prasad/distribution or sprinkling of holy water, etc should be allowed inside the religious place,” the ministry said, underlining that community kitchens, langars, ‘Ann-Daan’ etc at religious places should follow physical distancing norms while preparing and distributing food.  

The ministry advised persons aged above 65, having comorbidities, pregnant woman and children below the age of 10 years to stay at home and avoid visiting religious places.

According to the SOPs, all religious places should ensure hand hygiene (sanitiser dispenser) and make thermal screening provisions at the entrance mandatorily. They should allow only asymptomatic persons in the premises and allowing those using face cover or masks.

Audio and video clips to spread awareness on preventive measures for COVID-19 should be regularly played while posters on preventive measures should to be displayed prominently, it said.

“Staggering of visitors to be done, if possible. Footwears to be preferably taken-off inside own vehicle. If needed they should be kept in separate slots for each individual/ family by the persons themselves. Any shops, stalls, cafeteria etc, outside and within the premises shall follow social distancing norms at all times,” the SOPs stated.

The SOPs underlined maintaining physical distancing of a minimum of six feet at all times when queuing up for entry and washing hand and feet with soap and water before entering the premises.

“For air-conditioning/ventilation, the guidelines of CPWD shall be followed which inter alia emphasises that the temperature setting of all air conditioning devices should be in the range of 24-30 C, relative humidity should be in the range of 40-70 per cent, intake of fresh air should be as much as possible and cross ventilation should be adequate,” it said.

Touching of statues, idols and holy books should not be allowed and large gatherings remain prohibited.

According to the SOPs, spitting should be strictly prohibited and installation and use of Aarogya Setu App should be advised to all. The management of the religious places must ensure frequent cleaning and disinfection of the floors and other surfaces.

In case of a suspect or confirmed case in the premises, the ill person should be placed in a room or area and isolated from others and the nearest medical facility (hospital/clinic) should be informed, it said.

A risk assessment will be undertaken by the designated public health authority (district RRT/treating physician) and accordingly further action would be initiated regarding management of case, his/her contacts and need for disinfection, the SOP pointed out.

The premises should be disinfected if the person is found positive, it added. — PTI

SOPs for shopping malls


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