Tamil Nadu on Monday announced closure of beaches on Sundays for the public besides extending the ban on places of worship on weekends and also in holding religious festivals due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister M K Stalin at the Secretariat, which would be in effect till 06.00 am of September 15, an official release said here.
"For the benefit of the public and to contain the spread of the virus, beaches will be closed on Sundays while the ban to visit places of worship on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays will continue. Holding of religious festivals also banned," the release said. The decision to ban entry of people to beaches on Sundays follows pictures of huge crowds which went viral in social media, with people not adhering to any Covid-19 protocols, posing a greater risk to virus spread.
With the government deciding to ban religious festivals, Ganesh Chaturthi scheduled to be celebrated on September 10 is expected to be a low key affair, similar to last year. Meanwhile, the government directed district administrations to take 'appropriate measures' based on the prevalence of the virus in their respective districts.
The government release clarified that there was no change in its earlier decision to open schools for Class nine to 12 and colleges from September 1 which was based on the views put forth by medical experts and academicians. Schools and college hostels run by government and private, 'working men and women hostels' are also allowed to operate, the release said, adding administration of the hostels should ensure that the staff were vaccinated.
In view of the increasing Covid-19 cases in Kerala, the government said colleges should ensure that the students arriving from the neighbouring State were vaccinated and also hold a negative RT-PCR report. The Tamil Nadu government has already directed authorities in districts bordering Kerala to allow entry of only those who were vaccinated and have a negative RT-PCR report.