The Health Ministry on Tuesday issued the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on preventive measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 during ensuing festivities and urged people in containment zones, and vulnerable populations to celebrate festivals at their homes.
“Festive events shall be permitted only outside the containment zones. Organisers, staff and visitors from containment zones shall not be permitted. People residing inside these zones may be encouraged to observe all festivals inside their homes and not move out,” the ministry added.
It said that the festivals, fairs, rallies, exhibitions, cultural functions, processions and concerts associated with the festivities are mass events and advised the administrative requirement such as identification of spatial boundaries and preparation of a detailed site plan in compliance with thermal screening, physical distancing, sanitisation etc.
“In case of events that run for days or weeks, the crowd density doesn’t remain the same throughout and usually peaks around certain hours of the day and some previously known auspicious days. Planning for the event should specifically factor this so that crowds are regulated and managed to ensure physical distance and frequent sanitisation,” the guidelines added.
In case of rallies and immersion processions, the number of people should not exceed the prescribed limit and proper physical distancing and wearing of masks must be ensured.
In any case, the number of such rallies and the distance covered by them may be kept within manageable limits.
The Health Ministry said that the events such as rallies, and processions spread over long distances would require support of ambulance services. Events planned to last for many days or weeks such as exhibitions, fairs, puja pandals, Ramlila pandals or concerts and plays should have adequate measures to ensure a cap on physical numbers.
“Staggered timings and restricted entry may be considered. Volunteers should be appropriately stationed to ensure thermal scanning, physical distancing and wearing masks. The guidelines issued for theatre and cinema artists will apply to stage performers. Adequate supplies of sanitisers, thermal guns and physical distancing floor markings to be ensured,” the Centre added.
Close circuit cameras would be considered to monitor compliance of physical distance norms, wearing of masks at each venue. “In case of rallies and processions, route planning, identification of immersion sites, ensuring cap on numbers, physical distancing etc. must be planned beforehand and measures for enforcement outlined.”