Considering that COVID-19 cases are seeing an upward trend in some districts and with the festival season from August to October, the State government has ordered a ban on large-scale social, political, religious, and cultural congregation of people.
A string of festivals, including Muharram, Krishna Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, and Durga Puja are celebrated in these months. The government has directed the district authorities to decide on enforcing restrictions locally on the festival days. In a fresh set of guidelines, the State government said that no public observation of festivals or mass gatherings would be permitted in the State during the festive season.
It listed out elaborate restrictions on the celebration of the Muharram and Gowri-Ganesha festivals and banned all kinds of processions associated with both festivals.
It said that prayers should be held at masjids strictly adhering to COVID-19 appropriate behaviour.
The order issued by Principal Secretary, Revenue, Tushar Girinath said places of worship such as temples, mosques and churches would be allowed to open by strictly adhering to the COVID-19 appropriate behaviour. But taking out processions, annual jatras, and holding public meetings had been banned.
Installation of Alams during Muharram in public places has been banned. All those aged 60 and above and children aged 10 and below have to conduct prayers at home. Prayers have been banned at community halls, shadi mahals, and other public places during Muharram.
Similarly, the order has banned the public celebration of the Ganesha festival by setting up pandals. People must celebrate the festival in their homes and no procession would be allowed while bringing the Ganesha idol or during the immersion of the idols, the order said.
Wearing masks and maintaining social distance have been made mandatory during the festivals.