The pilgrimage spot of Vaishno Devi is set to re-open from August 16 with the usual Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in place.
This was announced after the Jammu and Kashmir government decided to open all religious spots from August 16. With a few exceptions like Ramban and Bandipora, all other districts in Kashmir valley are going to stay as Red Zones. The government will continue with the night curfew which takes place between 10pm and 5am. Some prohibition measures will be issued by the district magistrates in accordance with this. The site had remained closed since March 18 due to the pandemic.
The decision to open the religious places was announced via Twitter by Rohit Kansal, the Principal Secretary of Power and Information of the Union Territory.
The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board will have its own SOPs in place for devotees apart from those issued by the central government. The board's SOPs will be announced soon, keep tabs on their website.
Several safety protocols are being taken by the shrine board which includes sanitising the sanctum sanctorum and the twin tracks, and enforcing social distancing by marking circles at the Yatra Parchi counter and at the helipads at Sanji Chhat and Katra. Devotees will have access to the ropeway and battery cars.