Several monuments to reopen today: Time slots, separate entry and exit points

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Several monuments across the country will reopen from Monday for the first time in more than 100 days since the lockdown to fight the spread of coronavirus disease was clamped in March.

However, only those monuments that are in non-containment zones will be open for visitors.

District authorities in Agra have said the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Akbar’s tomb in Sikandra and other monuments will remain closed until further orders as they fall under containment zones.

The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) had shut down more than 3,400 monuments on March 17, days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the lockdown.

Some 820 religious places under the ASI were reopened when the government announced a graded exit from the total shutdown under “Unlock1”.

The Union culture ministry had on June 8 allowed 820 monuments to open, including the Taj Mahal. But the Agra administration decided against opening the Mughal-era monument in view of the rising number of coronavirus disease cases in the city.

The Nizamuddin Dargah also got approval but its administration decided against opening the site.

The culture ministry had given its approval last week for the reopening of monuments, places of worship, museums and heritage sites controlled by ASI. Officials said the decision to open these sites outside containment zones was taken in consultation with ASI.

Here are the rules visitor have to follow while visiting these places:

* No physical tickets will be issued until further orders and visitors will have to buy entry tickets through e-mode only

* They will have to mandatorily use the contact-tracing Aarogya Setu mobile application

* They will have to compulsorily wear masks and use sanitisers regularly

* There will be separate paths for entry and exit

* There will be thermal scanners at the entry points

* Visitors’ status on Aarogya Setu will be checked before they are allowed to get in

* There will be staggered entry and a cap on the number of people who can be present in a monument at a given time

* ASI will also collect visitors’ phone numbers in case contact-tracing needs to be done later

* E-ticketing facilities will also be ramped to ensure smooth and easy access

* The number of visitors will be capped and there will be slots every day.

* Visitors will have to stick to a time limit in order to ensure social distancing.

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