With the threat of Omicron lurking, the Kerala government has decided to impose strict restrictions throughout the state from Thursday until January 2.
The aim is to prevent crowding as part of New Year celebrations, it is understood. Kerala has reported 64 cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus to date.
The restrictions will also apply to mass and other religious gatherings at churches as part of the New Year. Political, social and religious gatherings have been barred between 10 pm and 5 am.
Travel will also be restricted during the period and only essential journeys will be permitted, the government has said. Those travelling after 10 pm have been advised to carry a duly filled self-declaration form.
The Director-General of Police, Anil Kanth, has insisted on compliance with COVID protocol in functions that are held before 10 pm.
Restrictions on New Year mass
The government has urged churches to host New Year mass by limiting participation. Believers have been suggested to participate online.
Relaxations for Sabarimala, Sivagiri
Relaxations will, however, apply for the pilgrims to Sabarimala and Sivagiri. The district collectors of Pathanamthitta and Thiruvananthapuram had recommended giving relaxations to the pilgrimages.
No shops after 10 pm
All shops have been told to close by 10 pm. Hotels, restaurants and bars must function at no more than 50% capacity while movie screening after 10 pm has also been prohibited.
The DGP said that police personnel will be deployed at all public places, including beaches where there is a possibility of crowding.