A meeting of nine major Goan temples’ trusts held at Mahalsa Devasthan in Mardol, Goa, on Sunday decided against opening the temples for devotees from June 8, after observing that the situation pertaining to the spread of COVID-19 was deteriorating.

This comes a day after churches and mosques in the State decided to remain closed for now. Goa had 235 active cases of COVID-19 till Sunday evening. Of these, 33 cases were reported on Sunday. As many as 30 of the new cases were from Mangor Hill in Vasco locality, which has since been declared a containment zone by the government.

Under the government’s phase I of unlocking the lockdown or Unlock I, places of religious worship have been permitted to reopen from Monday. The decision against reopening temples in Goa was backed by Ramnath Devasthan, Mahalsa Devasthan, Nagesh Devasthan, Mahalaxmi Devasthan, Devki Krishna Devasthan, Kamaxi Devasthan, and Ramnath Damodar Devasthan, all affiliated to the Partagal mutt, along with Shantadurga Devasthan and Mangeshi Devasthan affiliated to the Kavlem mutt.

“Due to the rise in coronavirus cases in Goa and taking health and well-being of devotees of Shree Mahalaxmi Saunsthan, Panaji, the management has decided to extend the temple closure till June 30,” the Mahalaxmi temple management said in a statement.

On Saturday, the Archbishop of Goa and the Association of All Goa Muslim Jamaats had also postponed the reopening of their respective religious places in view of the spike in COVID-19 cases.

Father Barry Cardozo, director of the Diocesan Centre for Social Communications Media, in a statement, said they would like to inform priests and faithful that they are assessing the novel coronavirus-related situation in the State. “Therefore, we are not in a position to declare our places of worship open from June 8,” he said.

The Association of All Goa Muslim Jamats executive committee members too decided to delay the reopening of all masjids in Goa till June 30, for the safety of members of the community and society.

“We request committee members and heads of jamats of masjids across Goa to implement this advisory, which is issued keeping in mind the rapid spread of COVID-19 cases in our State, and halt it from becoming a community transmission,” Shaikh Bashir Ahmed, president of the association, said.

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