The Jai Ram Thakur government on Saturday issued fresh guidelines (Standard Operating Procedure) for social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious and other congregations to check the spread of Covid-19 in the festive season.

A Himachal Pradesh government official said due to reopening of more activities during the upcoming season of festivals, the government had enhanced the limit of gathering of people up to 200 in closed spaces.

“Fifty per cent gathering would be allowed in open spaces and wearing of face masks, social distancing, thermal scanning, use of hand wash or sanitizer would be made mandatory in such venues,” he said, adding in open spaces, the gathering can exceed 200 persons.

He said people above the age of 65, pregnant women, people with co-morbidities and children below the age of 10 have been advised to stay at home and avoid such gatherings which is applied to the event managers and staff as well. The event managers, organizational staff must ensure that individuals visiting the festival maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet in public places as far as feasible. Respiratory etiquettes to be strictly followed, this involves strict practice of tissue/ handkerchief/flexed elbow and disposal of used tissue properly, he said.

He further stated that spitting would be strictly prohibited and installation and use of Aarogya Setu App is advised to all.

Further, no social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious and other congregations will be allowed in containment zones and organizers/staff/visitors from containment zones would not be permitted in social gatherings.

People residing inside containment zones may be encouraged to observe all festivals inside their homes and not move out, he added.

The official said theatre, cinema and plays would be allowed to be held with an advisory of having more ticket counters and separate exit and entrances. Event organizers or business owners are to make suitable provisions for contact less payment.

Apart from this, administrative requirements should ensure spatial boundaries which can facilitate compliance of thermal scanning, physical distancing, wearing of face masks and proper sanitization in all such venues, he said.

He further said the plan should be prepared well in advance about conduct of each activity with all relevant stakeholders.

“For the events planned for many days or weeks such as exhibitions, fairs, pandals or concerts and plays should have adequate measures to ensure the prescribed number of presence of individuals and also staggering and restricted entry.

Volunteers should be appropriately stationed to ensure thermal scanning, physical distancing, adequate supplies of sanitizers, thermal guns and floor marking should also be ensured. Close circuit cameras should be considered to monitor the activities, if feasible,” he added.

He added a simple do’s and don’ts advisory, posters/standees/AV media on preventive measures from COVID-19 must be circulated/ displayed prominently at each event venue.

“In case of political and other rallies and immersion processions, the number of people should not exceed the prescribed limit and proper physical distancing must be ensured in such cases.

The numbers of such rallies and distance covered by them would be kept within manageable limits. Route planning, identification of immersion sites, ensuring cap on number, physical distancing, etc must be planned beforehand and measures for enforcement should be outlined.

The event site should have a designated isolation room/space for isolating any person found symptomatic during the event/show/rallies, till medical help is available. Proper crowd management inside and outside premises like parking lots, waiting areas, stalls and eateries etc should be ensured.

Medical care arrangements must be planned with linkages to nearest hospitals to attend to health emergencies,” he added.