Maha CM hints at reopening religious places after Diwali

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Mumbai, Nov 8 (PTI) Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday hinted at reopening of places of religious worship, saying a standard operating procedure for avoiding crowds and ensuring physical distancing there will be drafted after Diwali.

In a webcast, Thackeray said he is getting flak for going slow on reopening of places of religious worship.

'I am ready for brickbats if it ensures good health and safety of citizens. How to avoid crowds and ensure physical distancing in places of worship will be worked out and a standard operating procedure will be drafted after Diwali.

'We are so involved in offering prayers and may neglect COVID-19 safety protocols. What if a coronavirus positive person infects senior citizens from our families who visit the places of worship he said.

Thackeray said wearing of masks will be mandatory in places of worship. He also appealed people to avoid bursting firecrackers in public places. 'I don't want to enforce a ban.

Let us have faith and trust in each other,' he said.

He said Delhi is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases, adding itis said pollution was the cause. 'Let us have self control and restrain from bursting firecrackers which will lead to pollution.Let us not waste nine months' of hard work against the pandemic during four days of Diwali celebrations,' he said. PTI MR VT VT VT