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At Home’s Covid changes: smaller guest list, changed seating plan, staff tested for virus

While the guest list has already been pruned from more than 1,200 to 90, the seating arrangement has been changed and the way tea and snacks are served will also be different on Saturday.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi | August 15, 2020 2:36:01 am
Rashtrapati Bhavan, Rashtrapati Bhavan i day function, Rashtrapati Bhavan independence day function, covid 19, india independence day, independence day newsAn illuminated South Block on the eve of Independence Day, on Friday. (Express photo by Prem Nath Pandey )

With distancing protocols due to the pandemic forcing changes in ceremonial functions across the world, the Rashtrapati Bhavan’s At Home function, on the occasion of Independence Day, will be conducted differently on Saturday. The focus this time is on honouring Covid Warriors — among those invited include hospital owners, doctors, nurses, midwife, an MCD worker, a crematorium staff and a sanitation worker —and Rashtrapati Bhavan is ensuring that every staff member who will interact with the guests have undergone Covid-19 test.

While the guest list has already been pruned from more than 1,200 to 90, the seating arrangement has been changed and the way tea and snacks are served will also be different on Saturday. The head table will be shared by President Ram Nath Kovind with Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, and Chief Justice of India S A Bobde. Other tables will be named after rivers of India, it is learnt.

The event will begin with a brief welcome address by President Kovid in which he will talk about the Covid Warriors invited specially for the event.

Every guest will have an assigned seat and on the table before them they will be served a plate of snacks covered with a transparent foil, bottles of fruit juice, water, and coconut water. This is different from the usual practice at the function of serving snacks in buffet style.

Only vegetarian fare – dhokla, burfi, sandwiches, samosas and tea – will be served by personnel wearing face masks and gloves.

Sources said all staff who will interact with the guests, both in and outside Rashtrapati Bhavan, have been tested for Covid-19. A limited number of diplomats, mediapersons and bureaucrats have been invited for the event. Sources said only a select few Union ministers and judges are invited.

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