Shirdi's Sai Baba Temple will now require devotees to undergo RT-PCR tests at the temple gates. The temple is all set to reopen on Monday, November 16 as the Maharashtra government permits the reopening of religious places across the state under the fresh COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
While speaking to ANI, the management of the Shirdi temple said that the devotees will have to book their darshan time slot online before visiting the premises. The temple was shut down following the COVID-19 outbreak which led to a complete lockdown across India.
"We are glad that the government has allowed us to open after so many months. Devotees who want to visit will have to do online booking to get a time-slot for the 'darshan'. Along with this, people will also have to show a COVID-negative RT-PCR result at the gate. Children aged eight to ten won't be allowed," informed a representative of Shirdi Sai Baba temple management.
On Saturday, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray had declared that the religious places across the state will be allowed to reopen from November 16 onwards. While the Ministry of Home Affairs had granted permission to reopen religious places across India from June 8 onwards, the Maharashtra government decided against it due to the rising COVID-19 infections.
While making the announcement, CM Uddhav Thackeray told the citizens to stay on guard, follow all health and safety protocols and take any and all necessary precautions. He emphasised the importance of wearing face masks inside religious places as well as avoiding crowding.
All trusts and organisations managing the religious places have been advised to ask the people above the age of 65, people with comorbidities, children under the age of 10 years and pregnant women to stay at home and avoid taking any risks. Maharashtra government has also urged the citizens to install and use the Aarogya Setu app as a precautionary measure. Ahead of the reopening the state government also issued a list of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's) that need to be adhered to.
(With inputs from ANI)