The decision will remain in force till February 21
The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) on Sunday announced that the devotees will not be required to produce COVID-19 negative report for getting entry into the 12th century shrine in Puri from January 21.
The decision in this regard was taken at a meeting attended by SJTA chief Krishan Kumar, Puri District Magistrate-cum Collector Samarth Verma and Superintendent of Police K.B. Singh.
At present devotees entering the temple have to show COVID-19 negative report.
“The devotees can enter into the temple without having COVID-19 negative report from January 21. The decision will remain in force till February 21,” SJTA chief told reporters.
But, all the other COVID-19 protocols like wearing of mask, social distancing will continue to be mandatory in the temple, officials said.
After February 21, the temple management committee will review the situation and take future course of action, they said.
The temple opened for public from January 3 after remaining closed for nine months in the wake of the pandemic.
The decisions to relax the restrictions (no COVID-19 report) will facilitate more devotees to get a darshan of the deities, officials said.
Puri DM Samarth Verma said that special arrangements and queue system will soon be introduced for elderly/senior citizens coming to the Temple.
The SJTA and district administration is making arrangements to allow 30,000 devotees to visit the temple on a daily basis from January 21 adhering to COVID-19 protocol.
Mr. Verma said the temple will remain closed on Sundays to carry out sanitisation and disinfection measures.
The temple was opened in a phased manner from December 23, 2020.
While the servitors and their family members were allowed to enter the temple from December 23 to December 25 evening, the local residents of Puri got the opportunity to have darshan of the deities between December 26 and 31.
The temple was finally opened to the public for darshan of the sibling deities — Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Jagannath- from January 3, 2021 adhering to the COVID-19 guidelines.
Puri is one of the four Dhams or most sacred places of pilgrimages for the Hindus in the country.
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