Meghalaya to reopen places of worship from June 14

The Meghalaya government has urged people in the state to adhere to safety protocols announced by the government to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

The Meghalaya government has decided to reopen all places of worship and religious places in the state from June 14 and urged people in the state to adhere to safety protocols announced by the government to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma made the announcement on Friday following a meeting with religious leaders to discuss matters related to the reopening of religious places and places of worship in the state.

In his opening remarks, the chief minister made it clear that health and safety of people is of utmost priority and urged all to adhere to the SOPs and other safety protocols laid by the government, to contain the spread of COVID-19 post reopening of places of worship.

“It is our collective responsibility to ensure maximum safety and at this point in time we need to keep health a priority in whatever we do,” he said.

After thorough deliberation and inputs from representatives from various religious organisations, it was decided that places of worship in Meghalaya will re-open from June 14, to give adequate time needed on preparations for the implementation of safety protocols in these places.

The meeting was also attended by Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong, Cabinet ministers who explained the reason for the decision.

“Why June 14 because it takes lots of time for the religious leaders to go down to the grassroot to explain," Tynsong said. He said that religious leaders of various faiths need to convince the believers and followers about the Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) that will be in place and which will also be needed to be adhered to after the reopening of these places of worship.

Tynsong added that the draft SOP is in place and was discussed during the meeting, which was also attended by Lahkmen Rymbui and Hamletson Dohling and senior government officials.

The deputy chief minister informed that the draft SOPs have been circulated to the religious leaders and that they have agreed to at least 85-90 per cent of the clauses.

“But a few more issues are there as far as a few clauses of the draft SOP are concerned. We will improve it and by tomorrow we will be able to send it to the respective religious leaders," Tynsong said.

Meanwhile, Rev Himanshu of the All Saints Cathedral Church wanted to know from the government how many people can congregate at any given time keeping social distancing in mind and if the SOPs can be translated into the local languages so that the rural people can be apprised of these.

The appointment of a nodal officer as a one point contact for the implementation of SOPs in religious places and places of worship was also proposed in the meeting.

Newmai News Network | SHILLONG

First Published:June 6, 2020, 10:43 a.m.

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