Marking its first day of Phase I-Unlock I, most of the hotels, restaurants, temples, and shopping malls in Bengaluru let open its doors on Monday, June 8 after over two months of screeching halt of its services due to the Covid-19 induced national lockdown.

Forum mall, bengaluru
Forum mall,

The first phase of the nation-wide lockdown against the widespread of the novel coronavirus was called on March 25. Since then, the country entered its various phases, finally letting the public services and transportation open since Monday.

Temples see a stream of devotees

"A steady stream of devotees made a beeline to many temples that reopened across the city in non-containment zones, wearing the masks and maintaining physical distancing," said a state muzrai (endowment) department official to the media.

According to the new guidelines, all the devotees should be mandatorily screened with thermal scanners before letting them into the temple premises. No symptomatic patients are allowed to enter these religious centers.

Additionally, the guidelines permit only 10-20 devotees at a time. This can although depend on the size and availability of space in the temples and the time they take to worship.

Among religious places where devotees thronged in the city are Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple at Gavipuram in the southwest suburb, Dodda Ganesha temple at upscale Basavangudi in the southern suburb and Venkateshwara temple at Vaillkavali in the northwest suburb.

"We have distributed the guidelines in English and Kannada to all places of worship across the city and the state to strictly comply for the safety of all," said the official. "As offerings like 'prasadam' and sprinkling of holy water are not allowed, some of the devotees who went to the temples by habit were told to leave them outside before entering the premises," he added.

The state government had permitted the temple authorities to entrust volunteers to maintain these strict measures. "Many temples also deployed volunteers to ensure the devotees don't touch the deities, statues, idols, and holy books and maintain 6 feet distance between them in the sanctum sanatorium," the official added.

The same set of norms should be strictly abided in the community kitchens, langars, and ann-daan while preparing as well as serving the food.

Courtesy: Reuters

A new way to dine

According to Upahaar manager S. Diwakar, "We have deployed additional personnel to screen customers entering the restaurant with thermal scanners and regulated their entry and exit into the premises to ensure social distancing. Washing of hands with sanitiser and wearing masks are compulsory."

Only 50 percent of the hotel's dining capacity is permitted inside these places so as to avoid crowding. Additionally, the eateries have to set up its parcel counters outside the dining hall.

"We have started using paper napkins instead of cloth type. All tables are sanitized each time a customer leaves after dining," said Diwakar.

Malls resume service

Although customers' counts were low, most of the popular shopping malls in the city including Forum, Phoenix, Orion, Mantri Square, In Orbit and Garuda reopened its doors.

As directed by the state government, all malls have employed more guards to screen the shoppers. Sanitisers are to be installed across the malls to make the customers wash their hands. The guards must ensure that all the people step inside wearing the masks.

"Cinema halls, children play areas and gaming arcades, however, remained closed as per the guidelines. They will be reopened gradually in phases," said an official of the Bengaluru city corporation.

"To maintain social distancing, entry of shoppers has been regulated and only 50 percent of the mall capacity is allowed to go around at a time, while others have to wait for their turn," he added.

In its measures issued, the state government has also advised elderly people above 60 years and children below 10 years to refrain from all sorts of activities involved outside their homes. They should not risk going to temples, restaurants, or malls.