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A detailed plan of the venue, proper markings for social distancing and isolation rooms for those detected with Covid-19 symptoms are among the protocols issued by the Uttar Pradesh government on Friday for holding events during the upcoming festival season.

All event organisers must take the prior permission of the district administration. No event will be allowed in containment zones.

Other protocols include thermal scanning and regular sanitisation.

“The venue should have separate entry/exit and more numbers should ideally be provided. The air conditioners will adhere to temperature setting of 24-30 degrees while the humidity levels should be maintained in range of 40 to 70% besides proper ventilation should be provided. Installation of CCTV cameras at the venue is recommended to keep watch on visitors whether they are adhering to protocols or not,” read the order by UP chief secretary R K Tiwari.

The SOPs have also advised that the event venues should also have details of a nearby hospital and that all payments should ideally be “contact less”.

“The idols (in case of Durga Puja celebrations) should be small and to be placed in the open. No idols or Tazias should be placed on roads or crossings. Small vehicles and minimum number of persons should be present for the idol immersion event. For this, entire plan should be prepared in advance. If any rally or immersion involves long distance, an ambulance should accompany,” the order read.

The orders gave clarity to organisers across the state. Most said that they had, in any case, planned a curtailed event during the festivities.

“We will be adhering to the SOPs and ensure that all health protocols are followed. We have planned to hire a farmhouse where only our members will be allowed. The Durga idol is small in size this time and only limited number of people will go for immersion. Food items will be sent to homes of our members and cultural programs will be telecast online. The Durga Puja celebrations will be a low-key affair this time due to the pandemic,” said Abhijit Roy, founder member of Prantic Cultural Society, Indirapuram.

The members of the Shri Dharmik Ralila Samiti in Kavi Nagar said that the events will not be held this time due to the pandemic.

“We approached artistes for preparing three hours or Ramlila which could be staged at an auditorium but they were not ready. Now, we have planned that we will hold recitation of Ramcharitramanas or Sunderkand for two days before Dussehra. Thereafter, on the day of Dussehra we have planned to prepare 5 to 7 feet effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkaran and Meghnad which will be lit in presence of members. So, this time there will be only small symbolic event,” said Lalit Jaiswal, president of the Samiti.

For Dussehra and Ramlila events, the chief secretary has limited the number of persons up to 50% of the capacity of the closed venue/hall, subject to maximum of 200 persons. For open spaces, the number of those attending will be defined locally subject to wearing of masks, hand washing facilities, sanitation, thermal scanning and social distancing norms.

District magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey said: “We have distributed the SOP guidelines to our officers and different meetings will be held soon at tehsil level with different associations to tell them about the guidelines to be followed. Anyways, the events which are forthcoming will be curtailed to extent as lot of precautions are needed to prevent any spread of infection.”

Box: list of guidelines in SOP

Site plan for the venue is to be chalked out and prior permission from respective district authorities is needed

Mandatory isolation room should be identified at the venue in order to isolate any person having Covid-like symptoms

A nearby hospital should be mapped to the venue in order to get healthcare facilities

ACs at the venue should be run between 24-30 degrees temperature and humidity levels should be in range of 40-70% with proper ventilation

CCTVs may be installed at the venue to monitor adherence to health protocols

No events would be allowed in containment zones

The idols should be smaller in size and should be placed in open space

Immersion activities should have minimum number of people and only small sized vehicle should be used

Persons allowed in closed hall should not exceed 50% of the capacity subject to maximum of 200 persons

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