Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Tamil Nadu School Education Minister KA Sengottaiyan has put up a banner at his residence, requesting the public and the AIADMK cadre not to visit him at his residence or in his office till March 31.
The announcement has not gone down well with locals, who say they are turned away when they try to visit the minister’s office, and now this announcement will keep them away from his home too.
On March 16, the Tamil Nadu government announced the closure of all theatres, pubs, malls, parks, museums and other commercial entities throughout the state. Bars associated with TASMAC too were asked to suspended operations. More than 3,000 bars were closed, which left tipplers thronging liquor shops instead.
The state-owned marketing corporation issued a circular instructing all TASMAC district managers to offer face masks to their workers, and said each liquor outlet must be equipped with hand sanitisers.
However, at several outlets, TASMAC managers said they had no clue about the circular. The workers continue to operate without any safety precautions.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, a senior official at the TASMAC said they haven’t received proper instructions from the government and hence they don’t know whether to implement it. “We have not received any directives from the government, the bars are closed but the shops are functioning. I don’t want the shops to function because of the safety aspect, but the workers will be affected, and hence we are proceeding as usual. The bar owners have already incurred a heavy loss,” he said.
The Archeological Survey of India had informed that all its monuments. sites and museums would be shut till March 31 owing to the outbreak of COVID19. In Tamil Nadu, temples, including the 1,000-year-old Brihadisvara Temple in Thanjavur, Airavateswara temple in Dharasuram near Kumbakonam and Brihadisvara temple in Gangaikonda Cholapuram near Ariyalur have suspended the entry of visitors till March 31.
Officials claim the situation is unprecedented, as this is the first time in history that Chola temples have barred the entry of devotees. Speaking to reporters, Thanjavur District Collector M Govinda Rao said while public entry is restricted, priests will continue to perform regular worship of the deity and other rituals.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Archbishop of Madras and Mylapore, Most Rev. Dr. George Antonysamy, suspended all meetings till March 31 in a bid to curb the spread of COVID19. Sunday worship services and gatherings have also been suspended. The Archbishop appealed to the public to care for the elderly and help them offer prayers at their home.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Fr. Patrick, the secretary to the Archbishop of Madras and Mylapore, said they have asked people to stay home and take up spiritual exercises like reading the Bible or reciting the rosary together as a family.
“We have special and extraordinary programs during this Lenten season. The churches conduct stations of the cross, special pilgrimages, retreats, public adoration services, etc. All these are suspended till March 31. The holy mass will go on. Priests are obliged to conduct the mass but we have advised people not to gather in large numbers at the church. They can stay at home and indulge in spiritual exercises. They can also make use of our online services. The holy mass led by our bishop will be telecast live,” he said.
In the previous letter, the Archbishop of Madras and Mylapore requested the parish priest to encourage people not to shake hands but to greet each other with folded hands. The priests were further instructed to purify their hands in a bowl of water before the distribution of the Holy Communion.
“We give the Holy Communion on the tongue, but to stop the spread of the virus, the bishop has instructed the priests to recommend people to receive it on the hand. The church and other places of worship have also been directed to be kept clean and sanitized periodically,” Fr. Patrick added.
In a mosque near Ambur, the prayer timings have been shortened due to the outbreak of the virus. They have also requested the people to stay home and finish the remaining prayers.
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