Maharashtra (SunstarTV Bureau): Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray allows reopening of temples and other worshiping places in adherence to the Covid guide lines here from today.
The state government has issued strict orders for keeping coronavirus safety measures such as masks, sanitisers and temperature checks that they will have to follow.
Religious places have been closed in Maharashtra and most other states since March, but the opposition BJP has mounted a campaign to have them reopened, backed by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
The Chief Minister said he had held out on reopening religious places because of the risk to senior citizens who visit them. Medical experts believe elderly people (those above 60) are at greater risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus.
As part of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), the governing bodies of the religious places will be responsible for crowd management and people above 65, children below 10, and pregnant women have been advised to stay at home.
“When will temples open? They will open soon. After Diwali, we will create SOPs for this. Elderly people visit temples and they are at risk (of contracting Covid). Therefore overcrowding needs to be avoided… be it temples, masjids or any other place,” Thackeray had said last week.
“People are criticising me. I’m ready to face that. I’m cautious for senior citizens. If one Covid-positive person is without a mask, he can infect 400 others… these are doctor’s figures,” he said.
Maharashtra has logged over 17.4 lakh cases since the pandemic began, with nearly 46,000 of those cases resulting in deaths. However, the number of active cases in the state has dropped to 85,000, with over 16 lakh people recovered from the infection.