The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday reduced the number of persons allowed at social and other gatherings, including marriages functions, to a maximum of 100 across the state in view of a fresh surge in Covid-19 cases.

State chief secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari issued an order to all commissioners, district magistrates, senior superintendents of police and others, asking them to strictly enforce the home department’s guidelines in regard to gatherings.

As per the new guidelines, not more than 100 people can gather at a social/religious/ cultural/educational/recreational/political function or for any other collective activity outside containment zones.

Also, the limit of 100 people will further be restricted to 50% of the capacity of the hall or a similar closed space at a time.

Besides this, maintaining physical distance and wearing masks will be mandatory and arrangements for thermal scanning and sanitiser/ hand-wash will have to be put in place.

The permissible limit of 100 people for open spaces will be restricted to 40% of the capacity of any such place on the condition of all other safety measures being in place.

The government, according to Tiwari, has amended the guidelines issued in October after the Central government allowed some relaxations with regard to social and other gatherings. As per those guidelines, a maximum number of 200 people could gather with certain restrictions in halls/closed spaces but not more than 50% of the capacity of the space at a time. Also, there were no other restrictions for a social or any other gathering up to 100 persons outside containment zones.

There was no such limit fixed for gatherings in open spaces depending on the area, though norms related to social distancing, wearing mask, sanitisation etc were to be followed.

Also Read: Universities and colleges across UP reopen after 8 months, attendance thin

Soon after, the UP government’s fresh anti-Covid guidelines were released on Monday, the Lucknow district administration restricted the total numbers of guests at a marriage function to 100.

“No gathering of more than 100 people will be allowed,” said Abhishek Prakash, district magistrate.

Meanwhile, the sudden change in anti-Covid guidelines ahead of the marriage season, which is scheduled to start from November 25, has added to the woes of marriage hall owners and others who are engaged in the wedding business.

“We are in a no man’s land. We actually don’t know where to go and how to react. Since the marriage season will start in a couple of days, all preparations have been made and in such a situation, adjusting to the new norms is next to impossible. The order will certainly leave a massive financial dent on us,” owner of a marriage hall said. He said holding marriage functions may seem a one-day affair but actually it’s not so.

“Preparations have to be made well in advance, be it decoration, booking of band, making payments at the marriage hall, inviting guests and so on. But the last minute change in the total limit of guests will certainly cause major financial loss,” another marriage hall owner said.

The city has more than 200 venues that hold such function.