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CHANDIGARH : The Haryana government has decided to allow reopening of places of worship and shopping malls for public in a regulated manner across the state from June 8, except in Gurgaon and Faridabad districts worst-hit by COVID-19, according to a statement issued here on Saturday.

Apart from this, hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services would be reopened with generic preventive measures across the state. The timing of opening for all would be between 9 am and 8 pm to ensure compliance of night curfew between 9 pm and 5 am, it said.

"The Haryana government has decided to allow the reopening of religious places, places of worship for public, and shopping malls in a regulated and restricted manner across the state with effect from June 8, except in Gurugram and Faridabad in view of large number of positive cases being found on a daily basis in the last 10 days in these districts," the statement said.

Of the over 3,952 coronavirus cases in Haryana, Gurgaon alone accounted for over 1,692 and Faridabad 620. Among the 24 COVID-19 deaths reported so far, Gurgaon reported four while Faridabad had 10 fatalities, as per state health department's bulletin issued Saturday evening.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar held a meeting here in the wake of the Centre's decision to reopen the country's economy. Anil Vij, who holds charge of both home and health departments, and Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala were present at the meeting.

The Centre had on May 30 said that 'Unlock-1' would be initiated in the country from June 8 under which the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown effectuated on March 25 would be relaxed to a great extent, including opening of shopping malls, restaurants and religious places, even as strict restrictions would remain in place till June 30 in the country's worst-hit areas.

"In Gurgaon and Faridabad, shopping malls and religious places will remain closed to the public for the time being. However, in other parts, these will open and people will have to follow the guidelines," Vij told PTI earlier in the day.

According to the statement of the state government, the chief minister directed authorities to regulate and restrict activities following the guidelines and instructions of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in letter and spirit keeping in view the prevailing conditions due to COVID-19 outbreak in Haryana.

The MHA has extended the lockdown period in coronavirus containment zones up to June 30 and allowed to reopen certain activities in a phased manner outside those areas, it said.

Khattar said safety measures including simple public health steps, social distancing, wearing of face covers or masks should be observed at all time by everyone in establishments that have been allowed to operate from June 8.

"It was decided that no aarti, congregation or mass and collective gathering for prayers will be allowed. Only individual prayers will be allowed and no physical offerings like prasad or distribution or sprinkling of holy water, etc. will be allowed inside the religious place," said the statement.

It was also decided that the community kitchens at religious places should observe physical distancing norms while preparing and distributing food, it stated.

Banquet halls with a size of around 2000 square feet would be allowed to operate with maximum of 50 guests at a time and social distancing norms must be observed.

Restaurants in hotels would be allowed to operate with only 50 per cent capacity. No buffet service will be allowed. Only ordering individually on the menu would be allowed. No bars in restaurants will be allowed to open. Room service or takeaways for dine in rooms will be allowed, according to the state government guidelines.

For shopping malls, other than in Gurgaon and Faridabad, such activities have been allowed subject to restrictions of social distancing, wearing of face covers/masks that need to be observed at all times. Gaming Arcades, Children Play Areas and Cinema Halls inside shopping malls will remain closed, it said.

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