Kerala to open shrines, malls to public from Tuesday

Our Bureau | Updated on June 07, 2020

File picture of throngs of devotees at Sabarimala   -  PTI

Central operating procedures to coexist with state's own restrictions

Kerala has come out with its own set of restrictions, in addition to the standard operating procedures and guidelines announced by the Centre, as it prepares to open up public places, including shrines and malls to the public from Tuesday.

These places may open the previous day for cleaning and disinfecting and making other arrangements. The hill shrine of Sabarimala will be managed by a virtual queue system, with not more than 50 people at one time. A thermal scanner will be installed in the foothills along Nilakkal and Pampa, as well as at the sannidhanam.

Use of masks is mandatory. Gloves and mask will be compulsory for employees of the Devaswom (temple administration). Children below the age of 10 years and adults above 65 years of age will not be allowed, in keeping with the Central guidelines. Pujaris (officiating priests) should not distribute prasadam (offertory blessings).

Restrictions announced by the State government in general stipulate that distribution of food, refreshments and offertory prasadam in places of worship should be avoided. Sandalwood paste or ash should also not be given from a plate.

Handshakes or physical contact is prohibited during the ceremonies.

Depending on the size of the place of worship, social distancing arrangements have to be made to accommodate about 15 people per 100 square meters, subject to a maximum of 100 people at a time. The names and phone number of the devotees should be collected. They should bring their own pens.

As for offices, malls and other public places, work-from-home facilities should be provided to those living in containment zones. Lift operators must be present so that everyone does not press lift buttons. Railings on ramps and stairs should not be touched. Hearing-impaired persons must wear gloves.

Offices should make arrangements for submitting and answering grievances online. Visitors should refrain from submitting complaints directly. Malls should fix the maximum number of people who can come in at a time. Names and phone numbers of visitors should be recorded. Plates and glasses served in hotels, restaurants, tea shops and juice shops must be washed in hot water.

Published on June 07, 2020

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