This year is different, and festivals will also have to be celebrated differently in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The government on Tuesday issued a series of standard operating procedures (SOPs) that may work as guided document on how to go about the upcoming festive season.
Planning of Events
Events should be planned with staggered timings and restricted entries. Physical distancing marks on floors, adequate supplies of sanitisers and thermal guns must be ensured by festival organisers. Pre-identification of space/ site in each event venue for isolation of suspect cases and close circuit cameras to monitor social distancing have also been made mandatory.
Compliance of physical distance norms, wearing of masks at each venue would have to be monitored. In case of rallies and processions, route planning, identification of immersion sites, ensuring cap on numbers and physical distancing must be planned beforehand and measures for enforcement outlined.
Individuals must maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet in public places as far as feasible. Use of face covers/masks would be mandatory. Spitting continues to remain prohibited. Use of the Aarogya Setu App is advised.
How Will You Worship
In religious places, touching of statues/idols/holy books etc. shall not be allowed. In view of the potential threat of spread of the infection, as far as feasible, recorded devotional music/songs may be played and choir or singing groups should not be allowed. Community kitchens/langars/ ‘Ann-daan’, etc. at event venues should follow physical distancing norms while preparing and distributing food.
Community kitchen managers and business owners of food outlets would have to ensure adherence to highest levels of personal and environmental hygiene at all times, especially while preparing, serving/eating meals and after disposal.
Maintenance of Common Area
Cleaning and regular disinfection (using 1% sodium hypochlorite) of frequently touched surfaces (doorknobs, elevator buttons, handrails, queue barricades, seats, benches, washroom fixtures, etc.) is to be made mandatory in all public utility common areas. Visitors and staff should be advised to dispose of used face covers/masks in covered bins available on the premises
SOPs to be Followed in Case a Covid-positive Person is Found
Place the ill person in a room or area where the individual is isolated from others. The person will remain isolated while wearing a mask/face cover till such time he/she is examined by a doctor. Disinfection of the premises if the patient is found positive, risk assessment to be done by the designated public health authority.
The number of visitors inside the event venue shall be restricted. There has to be special seating arrangement in pandals, food courts, shows etc. that must ensure adequate physical distancing. Any shops, stalls, cafeteria etc., outside and within the premises too shall follow physical distancing norms at all times. Arrangements for safe drinking water, if required, should be made (preferably with provision for disposable cups/glasses) in the event premises. Ventilation of the premises has to be ensured, cross ventilation must be mandatory.
For entry into the religious places, shoes/footwear to be preferably taken off inside own vehicle. If needed they should be kept in separate slots for each individual/family by the persons themselves. Proper crowd management inside and outside premises like parking lots, waiting areas, stalls and eateries must be ensured.
Stressing the importance of COVID-appropriate behaviour, the government said significant amount of prevention fatigue has set in and that we need to be doubly cautious at this time.