India Set to Reopen | Hotels and Temples From June 8
NEW DELHI: India will throw open shopping malls, restaurants and places of worship that typically attract large crowds next week, officials said, even though coronavirus infections are rising at the fastest daily rate than at any time in the past three months.
Anxious to jump-start an economy crippled by COVID-19 and put millions of people back to work, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is dismantling its vast lockdown of the 1.3 billion population imposed in March. Strict guidelines will accompany the loosening of restrictions on Monday, however.
Hotel guests will be tested for fever, masks will be compulsory at all times, and restaurants will have to set tables apart to maintain social distancing when they reopen on Monday, according to rules issued by the federal home ministry.
In places of worship, people will be asked to wash their hands and feet before entering, and there will be no distribution of food offerings or sprinkling of holy water or touching of idols and holy books.
India’s places of worship especially Hindu temples draw many thousands of people and the premises are usually not big enough to permit social distancing to curb any coronavirus contagion.
The large, wealthy Tirupati temple in southern India aims to keep pilgrims well apart by admitting a maximum 6,000 per day rather than the 80,000-100,000 it would normally allow.
Tirupati staff will wear protective suits and take random throat swabs from pilgrims, said Anil Singhal, the executive director of the temple’s trust organization.