Durga Puja and Ramleela festivities can be held in Delhi, authorities said on Sunday, but organisers will need to follow COVID-19 safety rules and obtain permits from district magistrates. Closed spaces will be allowed to have up to 200 people at a time and open venues will be regulated individually.
The Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal-led Delhi Disaster Management Authority or DDMA issued a new set of guidelines for holding congregations and gatherings, withdrawing the ban on gatherings and large congregations till October 31.
"Each such permission (which is applied to District Magistrate concerned) shall be jointly granted by District Magistrate and District DCP concerned on the basis of joint inspection report of area Executive Magistrate, area SHO and Licensing Inspector of Municipal Corporation concerned which shall clearly certify that the festival/celebration site is suitable for the conduct of the event and meets all the stipulations laid down in this order and the standard operating procedure," the order said.
The district magistrates and deputy commissioners of police will appoint an officer of suitable seniority as nodal officer for each site and venue of Ramleela and Durga Puja, the order said.
The capacity of each event site will be decided based on the area and social distancing norms laid down in the Ministry of Home Affairs order issued on September 30.
In closed space, a maximum of 50 per cent of the hall capacity will be allowed, with a ceiling of 200 persons, it said, adding that in open spaces, keeping the size of the ground or space in the view, and with social distancing norms.
The seating capacity for each such site must be determined strictly according to the norms mandated for ensuring social distancing and observance of COVID-19-appropriate behaviour and this capacity shall be certified by District Magistrate and District DCP, said the order.
Event organisers will ensure separate entry and exit at each event site, ground or venue which will be strictly regulated and only people with face mask will be allowed, it added.
Experts have expressed concern over a sharp spike in coronavirus cases in the festive season with Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan himself requesting people not to visit crowded venues.
The country on Sunday crossed the 70-lakh mark in the overall number of COVID-19 cases and stands slightly behind the US, which is the worst sufferer, logging more than 76 lakh cases. Delhi's caseload rose to 3.09 lakh with authorities reporting 2,780 new cases, while 29 fatalities took the number of deaths to 5,769.
(With inputs from PTI)