A Gazette Extraordinary has been published, specifying the regulations coming into effect during the Sri Pada pilgrimage season which commences on December 18, 2021, and ends on May 16, 2022.
The communiqué, dated December 13, was issued by Ratnapura District Secretary, Malani Lokupothagama.
As per the regulations, the devotees are required to keep their Covid-19 vaccination card or a copy of the same with them during the pilgrimage.
Further, they are advised to wear face masks, maintain distance and to follow proper health guidelines.
The gazette notification noted that pilgrims are not allowed to stay in the Sri Pada compound. They are required to leave once they conclude religious observances.
Further, the District Secretary said marketing and alms-halls should be conducted subject to relevant health guidelines. Accordingly, hawkers are not allowed to sell anything within Sri Pada compound and restroom premises, and along the route due to the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic situation.
Selling Pooja items, Pooja trays, food items or other commodities are not permitted at any place except the places where permission was granted by the District Secretary or any other authorized officer.
Meanwhile, carrying along the pilgrims’ route or storing, sale or purchase at boutiques and consuming any liquor, cigarettes or any other narcotic substances are strictly prohibited.
No person shall establish, maintain any permanent or temporary boutique or conduct business therein on either side of access roads except at the places already permitted, the gazette notification added.
The District Secretary said permission will not be granted to undertake alms-halls. However, alms-halls for distribution of face masks and sanitary items can be undertaken at the starting point of the pilgrims’ route, only by the persons who essentially need to conduct such alms-halls. A prior written permission from the District Secretary or from any other authorized officer shall be obtained for such purpose.