14 Nov 2020: Maharashtra: All religious places allowed to reopen from November 16
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Government on Saturday announced that all places of religious worship in the state would be allowed to reopen for devotees from November 16.
The government said wearing a face mask will be compulsory. It also urged people to follow social-distancing and other COVID-19 protocols at religious places, which remained closed since March due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
Fact: Here is what the Maharashtra Government stated
"All religious places in the state to re-open for devotees from Monday, November 16. Wearing the mask will be compulsory. All COVID norms will have to be followed (sic)," said the Government of Maharashtra in a statement.
Details: The demon coronavirus is still amongst us: Thackeray
Though all religious places had to remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, God—in the forms of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff—had been taking care of all the devotees, he said.
Fact: Discipline and restraint observed during festivals
"Just like discipline and restraint were observed while celebrating Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi, Navratri, and Pandharpur Wari (annual pilgrimage), followers of other faiths also celebrated festivals like Eid and Mount Mary festival by keeping the COVID-19 safety protocol in mind," noted CM Thackeray.
Statement: Reopening of religious places, the wish of the Almighty: CM
Announcing that all places of worship would be reopened on Diwali Padwa (Monday), Thackeray said crowding must be avoided at all costs, adding, "If we follow discipline, we will get God's blessings."
"The reopening of religious places is not a government order, but the wish of the Almighty. Shoes will have to be kept outside the premises and wearing masks is mandatory," he added.
Details: Decision has come at the right time: Minister Jayant Patil
Welcoming the government's decision, Maharashtra's Cabinet Minister of the Water Resources Department, Jayant Patil, said, "The decision has come at the right time when the number of corona patients is low (sic)."
"The rules will be the same for all the religious places. The use of masks, sanitizers would be mandatory. Social distancing is very important," he added.
Development: BJP targeted Thackeray for keeping religious places shut
In October, Koshyari requested Thackeray to "announce forthwith the reopening of the places of worship with all necessary COVID-19 precautions."
BJP, the opposition party in Maharashtra, had also repeatedly targeted Thackeray for keeping religious places closed even when the "Unlock" process began in June.