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ASDMA issued new guidelines for Chhath Puja, Raas festival

The Assam State Disaster Management Authority has issued guidelines for the Chhath puja to be celebrated on November 20 and also the Raas festival.

Chhath Puja

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  18 Nov 2020 1:55 AM GMT

GUWAHATI: The Assam State Disaster Management Authority has issued guidelines for the Chhath puja to be celebrated on November 20 and also the Raas festival.

The guidelines are as follows:

1. Social/ academic/ sports/ entertainment/cultural/ religious/ political functions and other congregations are permitted with the following conditions:

a) In closed spaces, a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity will be allowed, with a ceiling of 200 persons only after November 15, 2020. Wearing of face masks, maintaining social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and use of hand wash or sanitizer will be mandatory.

b) In open spaces, keeping the size of the ground/ space in view, and with strict observance of social distancing, mandatory wearing of face masks, provision for thermal scanning and hand wash or sanitizer, proportionate gathering shall be allowed only after November 15, 2020.

2. Guidelines for observing Chhath Puja:

a) All the places and routes leading to the celebration sites/ghats and river banks etc., should be identified, sanitized and checked. The Puja committees be directed to engage volunteers at the site of celebrations and necessary guidelines to the volunteers may be given with Do's and Don'ts.

b) Only five persons per family are allowed at a time in the puja ghats maintaining social distancing and other protocols of COVID-19. The puja committees will ensure that only the religious rituals will be observed.

c) No mela/cultural events in connection with the celebration of puja will be allowed.

d) The puja committees will not allow any vendor, temporary tea stall/chat house etc., in the vicinity of the puja pandal.

e) Children below 10 years of age and persons above 65 years are to be encouraged to stay at home only.

f) Strict compliance of social distancing, wearing mask, are to be maintained.

g) In case any person is found symptomatic, the organizers should ask him/her to be tested for COVID-19 at the nearest screening centre.

3. Guidelines for organizing Raas Festival:

a) All organizers of the Raas Committee must take permission from the District Administration for organizing Raas Festival-2020 as per existing rules.

b) The district administration will convene a meeting of all Raas Committees/Organizers for a detailed briefing on the protocol/guidelines issued by the Government before giving permission in order to ensure compliance with COVID protocols. This is to extend all possible support to the Raas Committees for successful and safe celebration of Raas Festival maintaining COVID-19 appropriate protocols.

4. Participation in Raas Festival

a) Children below the age of 10 (ten) years and senior citizens above the age of 65 (Sixty five) years are not allowed to perform in the Raas festival.

b) Prior to the start of the first day of Raas, the actors and other participants including volunteers, organizing committee members etc will have to be tested for COVID-19. This should be done at least 48 hours before the start of the first day of Raas Festival.

c) In case any participant shows symptoms of COVID 19 subsequently, the organizers will debar such participant from participating and send the person concerned immediately for COVID-19 testing and subsequent treatment.

d) Organizers will ensure thermal screening of all participants prior to start of performance every day.

5. Arrangements in Raas venues:

a) Organizers must keep adequate space for arrangement of physical distancing between two visitors as per COVID-19 protocol.

b) Entry and exit gates must be separate.

c) Proper signage/floor marking must be made from entry to exit point so that visitors are properly guided on the route, once he/ she enters and leaves the venue.

d) The exit should be done in a staggered manner to avoid crowding. Well-trained committee volunteers wearing masks and hand gloves must be stationed at different points inside the venue to assist visitors.

e) Volunteers should sanitise their hands, wear masks properly and ensure maintenance of social distance by the viewers while entering the venue while sitting and while leaving.

f) Thermal screening of visitors/staff is to be carried out at entry points. Only asymptomatic individuals shall be allowed to enter the premises. All organisers have to arrange for thermal screening at entry points.

g) Provisions for hand sanitization should be made available at all entry and exit points and in working areas along with a volunteer to assist visitors.

h) No individual without mask should be allowed inside the Raas venues.

i) The seats must be sanitized following appropriate procedures after each show by the organisers.

j) Proper crowd management in the parking lots and outside the premises, duly following physical distancing norms has to be ensured.

k) Proper use of face masks shall be mandatory for all visitors.

6. Consent of parents/guardians:

Prior to the start of Raas, all minor performers (11-18 years of age) should produce a written undertaking from their parents to the effect that they have no objections to their wards performing in the festival. Organisers will allow the artists to participate only if such a certificate is produced.

7. Post-Raas testing:

a) Post-Raas, there shall be a mandatory testing of all persons involved in organising the Raas Festival, including actors, volunteers, singers, musicians, backstage crew members, members of the organizing committee etc across all Raas venues.

b) For this, the organizing committee will submit a list of names of such persons, along with their contact numbers and addresses to the district administration by November 25, 2020.

8. Restriction on Mela. Fair, Setting up Food Stall, Roadside Restaurant etc.:

No melas, fairs, roadside shops, selling up of roadside food stall/temporary restaurant will be allowed as these might lead to crowding of people.

9. Emphasis on Print, Electronic and Social Media:

a) There must be optimal use of print, electronic and social media to generate mass awareness about COVID-19 protocols during Raas Festival in all Districts and to request people to follow the norms strictly to avoid any unnecessary crowding inside or outside the Raas Hall/Pandal. The organising committees shall also spread awareness about the same.

b) All measures should be taken to avoid unnecessary rumours, misinformation campaign about COVID-19 and others issues during the Raas Festival.

10. General Guidelines for organisers

a) Organisers should put up flex/banners near the venue detailing COVID-19 protocol.

b) Announcements should be made from time to time inside the venue requesting them to follow COVID-19 protocol.

c) Self monitoring of health by all performers and visitors and reporting of any illness at the earliest to the district helpline is to be ensured.

d) Any behaviour detrimental to COVID-19 protocol is to be dealt with immediately.

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