From queues in temples to heavy traffic on roads: TN bids farewell to lockdown!

The visuals from across Tamil Nadu from Tuesday morning had shown that the state has bidded a farewell to the lockdown and restrictions that lasted for five months and started bracing up to restore normalcy amid fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As the state government has poured major relaxations from September 1, the places of worship, shopping malls, and intra-district public transports have resumed and re-opened on September 1 -Tuesday, five months after these establishments were closed. Along with these relaxations, the government has repealed the e-pass system for intrastate movements of people and also permitted 100% workforce in the government offices, banks, IT companies, and other financial institutions. 

With the pack of wider relaxations, Tamil Nadu had largely wakened up for how it looked like during the pre-COVID lockdown. The visuals that have been surfacing from the morning hours of Tuesday have been picturing that the state is mulling to live along with the pandemic. The closed doors of temples and other religious places and deserted roads across the state had opened and came busy as more people visited temples and more vehicles snailed on the roads in Chennai and other cities. 

People queued up in Kabaleeshwarar temple in Mylapore, Chennai and their temperatures have been checked before entering the temple - September 1, 2020


According to the reports, important temples across the state were queued up from Tuesday morning as more people had visited and offered their prayers. Devotees had queued before the temples in Madurai and other southern districts in large numbers. People came to the temples as early as 5 am on Tuesday. However, the temples allowed them inside the premises after 6.30 am by checking the body temperatures of the devotees before permitting them inside the temples. 

Geriatric people of above 65 years, pregnant women, children below ten years, and people who haven't worn the face-masks weren't allowed inside the temple. There was a long queue at Sri Meenakshi Sundaraswarar Temple in Madurai since morning and some of the notable temples across the state like Palani, Tiruchendur had seen similar crowds in its premises. The state government has earlier released the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that need to be followed in the temples and other places of worship. 

MTC buses and other vehicles can be seen in OMR near Tidel park in Chennai, September 1, 2020


As per the SOP, temples are banned to offer VIP darshan and devotees won't be offered with flowers and coconut and the government has advised the devotees to register and reserve their slots prior to visiting the big temples through SMS or an app by disclosing Aadhaar card number and the temples and devotees are mandated to maintain social distancing and people can take annadhanam through the parcel and refrain from gathering in the places of worship. 

Devotees visiting mosques should have to bring their own prayer mats and churches are prohibited in conducting choir performances. Chennai city has become busy and noisy as some of the important roads in the city had welcomed the drive and movements as the MTC buses hit the roads after five months of having been hit by the lockdown. Important roads like Anna Salai, OMR, and Guindy Kathipara have seen heavy traffic as the traffic police endured with more challenge of regulating the traffic and movements. 

MTC operated its regular bus services from September 1 and the buses are operating with 50% of seating capacity as the buses allowed one passenger in a seat that earlier occupied two passengers. With the view of the government protocols, the buses had installed a bottle of sanitizer near its backdoor and ensured that the passengers sanitize their hands before coming into the bus. There were stable crowds in the temples in Chennai. 

A passenger and a conductor can be seen wearing facemask and face cover in the bus as the bus services resumed in Chennai after five months - September 1, 2020


According to the reports, around 1,500 devotees visited Kapaleeswarar temple in Mylapore between 5 am to 10 am and more than 400 people visited Sri Parthasarathyswamy temple in Triplicane during the same time. As the city has prepared to get back to normalcy with growing COVID-19 cases, the authorities have been ensuring to stay vigil that the protocols are fully observed. The authorities of Greater Chennai Corporation had visited the temples, places of worship, and shopping malls and took stock whether the establishments and people are adhering to the protocols and guidelines issued by the government.