Unlock 1.0: Places of worship all set to reopen in Kerala on June 9
Thiruvananthapuram, June 07: As places of worship across Kerala are all set to reopen on Tuesday following easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions by the government, a few churches, temples and mosques in the southern state have decided not to open its doors to devotees till the month end.
The Angamally-Ernakulam diocese, which decided to remain shut due to the COVID-19 situation, was followed by a few other denominations including Niranam archdioceseof Jacobite faction, and informed that they will be closed till June 30.
The Syro-Malankara church with around1,100 churches under it, has decided to open the religious places by adhering to strict health protocol.
"Although masses and other services would not be held, the churches can, however, be opened for the faithful to go and say individual prayers," the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese, under the Syro-Malabar Church, said in a statement.
However, other dioceses under the Syro-Malabar Church and other denominations in the state are yet to take a call on reopening the churches, which have remained closed for the faithful since the nation-wide lockdown was enforced in March. Father Bovas Mathew, PRO of Syro-Malankara Church told PTI that the churches would be disinfected before allowing the devotees entry.
"The churches will be disinfected on Monday as per the government's directions before allowing the devotees to enter. For a church, it's easier to control the crowd and maintain social distancing. Each church has a specific number of families. Directions have been given to each parish council to restrict the crowd to 100 people..," the priest said.
All the churches have made arrangements for hand-wash, and would provide masks in case someone did not bring one, he said.
The state government had on Friday decided to allow functioning of malls, restaurants and places of worship, including the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple, from June 9, but made it clear that the elderly and children would have to stay away from such places.
The Centre had on May 30 issued a notification on easing of restrictions at religious places, shopping malls, restaurants and at public offices from June 8.
Most of the temples in the state have already begun the disinfection process with major shrines including Sabarimala and Guruvayur deciding to allow devotees, who booked their slot through a virtual queue.
While Parassinikadavu temple in Kannur district would reopen on June 15, the famous Kadampuzha temple in Malappuram district would also remain closed.
However, the Kochi and Guruvayur Devaswom Boards have announced that the temples under them would be opened on June 9. Palayam mosque in the heart of the state capital has decided not to open for devotees as lot of travellers come to pray.
Earlier, mosque authorities had said since the cases were on the rise in the state, it would be difficult to keep track of those who visit the place of worship. The left government has said the maximum number of people inside a place of worship would be decided as per its size.
It further said that there would be thermal scans at Nilackal, Pamba and Sannidhanam in Sabarimala and special provisions to perform 'Neyyabhishekam,' a ritual of offering ghee to the deity. There are restrictions to sing devotional songs in religious places and the state government suggested to use recorded versions of the same.
The state on Sunday reported over a hundred COVID-19 cases for the third consecutive day, taking the total number of patients under treatment in the state to 1,095.