Deepavali is one of the biggest festivals in our country, which will usually see Hindu devotees returning back to their respective hometowns or villages.

However, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has announced that there will be no “balik kampung” travel for those staying in the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) and Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) areas.

Here’s all the SOPs you need to know for the Deepavali celebrations:

1. Inter-district and interstate travel is not allowed for Deepavali.

Those living in EMCO and CMCO areas will not be allowed to cross sub-district, district, and state borders to return to their hometowns or “balik kampung” for the festivities.

2. For Hindu temples in CMCO areas, devotees are permitted to attend prayers on the first day of Deepavali (14th November) only. 

Those celebrating in EMCO and CMCO areas are allowed to attend special prayers, but temples must follow strict SOPs, including preparing counters for temperature checks, sanitisation, and registration (through the MySejahtera app or a logbook).

3. No more than 30 people allowed in the temple at any one time.

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Smaller temples will allow fewer people as it depends on the size of the temple and its ability to ensure adequate social distancing between the patrons. Devotees with chronic illnesses, elderly and children under the age of 12 are not encouraged to attend.

4. Special prayers (7am to 12pm) will be divided into five sessions with 30-minutes for sanitisation breaks in-between.

The prayers must be conducted from 7am until 12pm only, and will be divided into five 30-minute sessions, accompanied with sanitisation operations for 30 minutes before each session begins.

5. Food offerings for devotees can be distributed but must be packaged properly.

The “prasādam” (food offerings for devotees after prayers) can only be distributed if it’s packaged properly and devotees must leave the temple immediately once the prayer concludes.

6. Limited number of visitors allowed at the homes of those celebrating.

Only 20 guests are allowed to gather for celebrations in landed properties at one time. Apartments (smaller than 1,500 sq ft) can only have up to 10 guests while those living in larger units (2,500 sq ft and above) can only have a maximum of 15 guests at one time.

7. For those in EMCO areas, prayers at temples will not be allowed and visitation to homes of families and friends is not permitted.

Temples will not be allowed to operate in EMCO areas and the festival can only be celebrated with family members who are residing in the same house with no visitors from outside.

Watch Ismail Sabri’s full announcement of the SOPs here:

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