Navratri 2020 in Gujarat: State issues SOP for upcoming festive season amid coronavirus pandemic


The guidelines would come into force from October 16. (Image: Gujarat Tourism)

Gujarat Navratri SOPs: As the festive season is approaching, the state government of Gujarat has issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the upcoming festivals. The SOPs would be applicable to Gujarat’s much-talked-about Navratri festival, Dussehra celebrations, Sharad Purnima, Diwali as well as New Year, according to a report in IE. Keeping in mind the coronavirus pandemic, the state government has disallowed garba dance anywhere during any festival for the rest of the year. Moreover, to practice social distancing, public events like Ramleela, Ravan Dahan, fairs as well as processions would not be held.

The report stated that the SOPs were announced by state Deputy CM Nitil Patel on Friday during an interaction with mediapersons. The guidelines were decided upon during a meeting of the core committee held on Thursday night, while taking into account the suggestions put forth by several medical associations.

Navratri in Gujarat: SOPs

The following restrictions will remain in place for the festivals this year, the report stated..

  1. Idols or photos of deities can be installed in public, but only with strict observance of social distancing measures. Moreover, no devotees would be allowed to touch the feet of the idol or the photo.
  2. Distribution of prasad of any kind has been strictly prohibited.
  3. Such programmes would only be held after the local administration has given its permission. Moreover, with requisite permissions, the programmes would include a maximum of 200 people and the duration of such events would remain restricted to one hour.
  4. Conditional permissions would be granted for organising educational, sports, social, cultural, entertainment and religious programmes. However, these events would only be held in areas not declared as containment zones.
  5. The event organisers would have to ensure that markings are in place every six feet for strict adherence to social distancing norms.
  6. Attendees would have to cover their faces properly during the event.
  7. Organisers would have to ensure that thermal scanners, sanitisers and oximeters are available. Moreover, provisions for periodic sanitisation for chairs as well as mics would have to be in place.
  8. If the events are being held in hotels, banquets, halls, auditoriums, or community farms, the number of guests must be limited to either half of the capacity of such venues or a maximum of 100.
  9. Spitting as well as consumption of gutkha and paan during these events will also be prohibited.
  10. Moreover, funerals and marriage functions would have a capped limit of 100 attendees.

The advisory, however, states that to whatever extent possible, people should choose to celebrate these festivals at home with their families.

The guidelines would come into force from October 16, and failure to comply with them would lead to legal action against the offenders, the report added.

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