BHUBANESWAR: In view of the resurgence of Covid-19, the State Government on Friday banned large congregations for celebration of festivals including Utkal Divas on April 1 and associated cultural programmes throughout Odisha.
Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena said in the interest of health of general public and for containment of spread of Covid-19, congregation for celebration of Good Friday, Easter, Pana Sankranti, Jhamu Jatra, Danda Jatra, Sriram Navami and associated religious and cultural gatherings will not be allowed in public throughout the State. However, religious rituals in churches, temples and places of worship will continue as usual with a limited number of persons with strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols.
The order said the festivals fall in April when people usually congregate and get in touch with each other. It is not possible to adhere to Covid appropriate behaviour and such congregations have a potential to cause spread of the virus, he said.
Similarly, official meetings and celebrations of Utkal Divas will be held with a maximum of 200 participants with strict adherence of Covid-19 safety protocols like social distancing, use of masks, sanitizers and hand washing, Jena said . He said that other activities associated with the celebrations should be avoided.
The SRC said that other organisations and private institutions will have to obtain prior approval from the local administration, district collectors and municipal commissioners, to observe Utkal Divas. The ceiling on participation will have to be strictly along with all Covid-19 safety guidelines, he said.
Any violation of the new guideline will be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 and regulations issued from time to time, he said. The government on March 20 prohibited celebration of ‘Dolayatra’ and Holi on March 28 and 29.