Covid-19 : TDB, Film Trade decides to follow CM's appeal to avoid mass gatherings


Kottayam, Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) and Film Trade have decided to follow the appeal of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to avoid mass gatherings in view of Coronavirus cases reported in Kerala.TDB President N Vasu exhorted devotees not to visit Sabarimala for the six-day monthly puja that begin on March 13.The Film Trade, on their part, has decided to shut down theatres across the state till March 31."We believe that the faithful will heed our request and keep away from Sabarimala to prevent large gatherings", Vasu said in a statement on Thursday.Hundreds of pilgrims, including foreigners, normally visit the hill shrine during monthly pujas, he said.The TDB President also said all rituals would be conducted as usual. The Chief Priests of Sabarimala are 'purappeda santhis' (isolated monks) who will not contact with the outside world and observe penance during their tenure. The priests will carry out all the necessary rituals without fail, he said.The 'appam and aravana' counters will also remain closed. There would be no attempt to physically prevent pilgrims from trekking up the shrine

Vasu said "we have still not thought on those lines. We are sure devotees would realise the gravity of the situation and act accordingly".Temples under TDB would not conduct festivals in March. The Chief Minister said temples and churches should limit festivals during March to some core rituals so that devotees would not gather in large numbers.Mr Vijayan said "people coming together at this time would be harmful. It will allow the virus to spread".
The decision to shut down theatres was taken at a meeting of film trade bodies held in Kochi. Trade office-bearers announced that there would be no screenings from Thursday.According to M C Bobby, General Secretary, Film Exhibitors United Organisation of Kerala, the association is not calculating the losses. "This is something that affects the entire state. Since the issue is very serious, the government has taken this decision and we will stand by it", he added.G Suresh Kumar, Former President, Kerala Film Producers Association, said with the theatres being shut down till March 31, theatre owners and film makers will suffer serious financial setbacks.