The Gujarat government on Friday issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) for upcoming festivals like Navratri, Dussehra, Sharad Purnima, Diwali and New Year and announced that garba dance will not be allowed anywhere in the state this year amid the coronavirus pandemic. No public events such as like Ramleela, Ravan Dahan, processions and fairs will be permitted to take place.
While idols can be installed, strict social distancing must be maintained, the guidelines, which were released through a statement, read. “However, neither touching the feet of the idol or photo or distribution of prasad will be allowed,” it added.
Moreover, not more than 200 people will be allowed for such programs which must be held with the permission of the local administration and the duration of which must not exceed one hour, the government said.
While interacting with media persons, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said that the decision on the SOPs were taken during a meeting with a core committee on Covid-19, on Thursday night. He added that the suggestions of various medical associations were also taken into account while formulating the guidelines.
During the festive season, conditional permission will be granted to organise social, educational sports, entertainment, cultural and religious programmes in areas which are not declared as containment zones. The conditions for such programs include strict implementation of six feet physical distance with markings on the floor, proper covering of face during the event, provisions of thermal scanner/sanitizer/oxymeter and periodic sanitsation of mike and chairs. Prohibition on spitting and consumption of paan/gutkha during such programs are also included in the SOPs.
It is advisable that people celebrate festivals like Durga Puja, Dussehra, Diwali, New Year, Sharad Purnima etc. in their respective homes with family members, the release said.
Only 100 persons will be allowed to attend a marriage function or a funeral.
The SOPs will come into force from October 16. The violation of any of the condition mentioned in the SOPs will attract legal action, the government announced.
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