The Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday announced that small places of worship in rural areas will open for the public from Wednesday, July 1. These are places of worship which make less than Rs 10,000 annually.
However, places of worship will remain shut in Greater Chennai Corporation limits, containment zones, towns, panchayats and municipalities.
Here are the SOPs for religious places in Tamil Nadu ahead of their reopening. All the rules are applicable to temples, mosques, churches, gurudwaras, Buddhist vihar, darghas and other places of worship.
> People above the age of 65 years, those with comorbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 are advised to stay at home.
> Follow social distancing, use a mask, wash hands and feet with soap and avoid physical contant while greeting.
> Touching statues, idols, holy books is not allowed.
> Shops outside the place of worship must follow norms of social distancing.
> Recorded devotional songs will be played.
> No common mats to be used.
> Offering of prasad or holy water is allowed inside the premises. Prasad will be given in carry home packets. Offering of coconut or flowers will also not be allowed.
> Community kitchens should follow social distancing norms while preparing food.
> Frequent disinfection should take place at religious places.
> Each religious institution will form a Covid-19 safety committee to ensure protocol is in place.
> Not more than 20 people should be allowed in an area of 100 sq metre.
> Devotees should be discouraged from prostrating until times return to normal. No one should enter temple tanks.
> No festival gathering. No stay for pilgrims.
> One marriage at a time slot with maximum 50 people.
> Ablutions in mosques preferably should be done at home. Two metre distance should be kept while praying. People should bring their personal mats to pray.
> No shaking hands and hugging while greeting.
> No crowds for Friday prayers. Prayer to be held in batches.
> Mosques shall be opened 15 minutes earlier than Azan.
> In Dargahs, devotees should not touch chadar or anything.
> The use of liturgical books and hymn books should to be used in churches.
> No holy water, distribution of eucharist, offering. Offering should be taken only through designated donation boxes.
> Church authorities should ensure no socialising after service.