Shillong: The Meghalaya government has now decided to allow the reopening of places of worship beginning October 1.
The decision was taken after a meeting was held with different religious leaders under the banner of Shillong All Faith Forum (SAFF). During the meeting, discussions were also held on the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to be undertaken.
In a notification issued by chief secretary MS Rao, the permission is subject to compliance with the SOP issued by the political department vide Order No. POL.75/2020/PtI/69, dated September 25, 2020.
There will be strict adherence to the social distancing protocols of the health and family welfare department.
Highlights of SOP:
Religious places/places of worship for public in containment zones shall remain closed. Only those outside containment zones will be allowed to open.
As far as churches are concerned, maximum number of persons allowed during any church service should not exceed one-third of the seating capacity of the church. Further, one row in between two pews should be left empty. Individuals should also maintain a minimum distance of five feet.
Even at mosques, temples and gurudwaras, individuals must maintain a minimum distance of 5 feet.
Touching of statues/ idols/ holy books, etc, not to be allowed
In churches, even while singing hymns, masks should be worn at all times.
No physical offerings like prasad/ distribution or sprinkling of holy water, etc, to be allowed inside the religious places.