All monuments to reopen for public from July 6
In a major development, all monuments, including the famous Taj Mahal in Agra and New Delhi's Red Fort, will be reopened to the public starting Monday, July 6, the central government announced on Thursday. Notably, over 3,400 monuments protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) were shut down on March 17, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Here are more details.
Reopening to be done in compliance with local administration
The move is part of the ongoing second phase of a graded unlock plan from restrictions imposed to contain the spread of the deadly virus, which has claimed nearly 18,000 lives in India and over five lakh around the world. However, the final decision to reopen a certain monument would rest in the hands of the concerned state and district administration.
Union Minister Prahlad Singh Patel announced the decision
The decision was announced by Prahlad Singh Patel, Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture. He tweeted, "I, along with Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India, have decided to reopen all monuments from July 6 with necessary precautions." Reportedly, all government-mandated safety protocols, including wearing face masks and social distancing norms, would be required to be followed by visitors.
Here is the official tweet
सांची (मध्यप्रदेश),पुराना किला (दिल्ली),खजुराहो (विश्व धरोहर) के प्रतीकात्मक चित्र।मैने @MinOfCultureGoI @ASIGoI के साथ निर्णय लिया है कि आगामी ६जुलाई से सभी स्मारकों को पूर्णसुरक्षा के साथ खोले जा सकता है @PMOIndia @JPNadda @incredibleindia @tourismgoi @MinOfCultureGoI @BJP4MP pic.twitter.com/opPzj5Mg7l— Prahlad Singh Patel (@prahladspatel) July 2, 2020
Last month, 800 religious monuments were reopened
Earlier, in June, some 820 ASI-protected monuments with religious significance were reopened by the government under the first phase of its unlocking plan. Subsequently, popular religious places like the Tirupati Balaji temple in Andhra Pradesh started accepting devotees, with measures like Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits for temple staff, physical distancing guidelines, and fewer tickets, in place.
Schools, metro services, cinemas remain shut
However, schools, colleges, metro services, swimming pools, cinema halls, bars and assembly halls continue to remain shut under the "Unlock 2.0". Further, night curfew timings have been relaxed, and will now be in force from 10 pm to 5 am. Shops can now have more than five persons at a time, depending upon the area. Notably, COVID-19 has infected 606,907 across India.