Maharashtra government on Monday, 28 September, decided to open the gates of religious places for devotees and the general public from October 7, after a long hiatus. However, a face mask will be mandatory for the visitors, and all COVID-19 norms will have to be followed, said the Maharashtra state Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray after meeting with the task force.
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray decided to serve his citizens to celebrate the occasion of Navratri this year. Nevertheless, Thackeray advised people not to become complacent and maintain COVID-19-appropriate behaviour given a possible third wave of the pandemic.
"All religious places will be opened from October 7 in the state. The Maharashtra government has prepared itself for a third wave, but with all precautions, the state is allowing relaxations in various activities," he said.
The CM said though COVID cases are declining in Maharashtra the coronavirus menace persists. "Although daily COVID-19 cases are showing a declining trend, everybody should take care and follow COVID-19 protocols," he said.
"While religious places are going to be opened, people still need to wear face masks and use hand sanitisers. The management of religious places will be responsible for the implementation of such measures," Thackeray said.
Besides considering public demand, the Maharashtra government was also paying heed to the protests staged by the opposition BJP demanding the reopening of temples and other places of worship in the state.
After the initial coronavirus wave abated, sites of religious worship were opened in Maharashtra in Diwali, November last year. However, they were closed for the general public after the second wave sprang again in Maharashtra in March 2021.
Maharashtra on Friday, 24 September recorded 51 deaths and 3,286 new coronavirus cases, which took the state's tally to 1,38,776 deaths and corona cases to 65,37,843 respectively, a Public health department administrator said.