Finally after a long wait, the standard operating procedures (SOP’s) for Thaipusam 2022 have been disseminated to the devotees.
Speaking at a press conference, the National Unity Minister Halimah Sadique has stated the SOPs were formed based on proposals provided by individual temple managements, as well as health risk assessments conducted in place to curb the spread of Covid-19.
To be general, only individuals who have been completely vaccinated will be permitted to attend the Thaipusam celebrations. They will be compelled to wear a mask at all times to ensure a 1-metre social distance. Additionally, only people aged 18 and above are eligible to join.
Paal Kodam processions will be permitted from today (14th January 2022) through next Wednesday (19th January 2022), with each session lasting not more than 30 minutes. Before participating in the procession, those who carry offerings should register with the temple and wear a badge. After that, every session is followed by a half-hour of sanitisation of all surfaces.
The maximum capacity of devotees permitted for each temple are as follows:
- Sri Subramaniar Swarmy Batu Caves Temple, Selangor: 100
- Arulmigu Balathandayuthabani Temple (Penang), Nagarathar Thandayuthapani Temple George Town (Penang), Ipoh Hindu Devastanam Paripalana Sabah Temple (Kallumalai Sri Subramaniam Alayam) (Perak) and Sri Subramaniyar Thevasthana Paripalana Temple Sabah Sungai Siput (Perak): 50
- Other temples across Malaysia: 30
For the chariot processions, the temple management staff might well be permitted to participate in Thaipusam chariot processions. Those who are participating must first register with the temple management and wear a tag at all times. Prior to being held, the procession routes must also get police clearance.
The government has set aside 12 slots for prayers at the Sri Subramaniar Swarmy Batu Caves Temple on the 16th, 17th, and 19th of January 2022, from 5am to 5pm. On the 18th of January 2022, in between hours of 5am and 11pm, 18 sessions will be allocated. Each session will take around 30 minutes, after which all surfaces will be thoroughly disinfected.
- Only 6,000 individuals are permitted to join every day in total at Sri Subramaniar Swarmy Batu Caves Temple.
- Only 500 individuals are permitted to join every session held in the Sri Subramaniar Swarmy Batu Caves Temple.
As for Arulmigu Balathandayuthabani Temple in George Town, Penang; Nagarathar Thandayuthapani Temple (George Town); Ipoh Hindu Devastanam Paripalana Sabah Temple (Kallumalai Sri Subramaniam Alayam) in Perak; and Sri Subramaniyar Thevasthana Paripalana Temple Sabah Sungai Siput (Perak), 12 prayer sessions will be allocated on the 16th, 17th, and 19th January 2022 between the hours of 5am to 5pm. And on the 18th of January 2022, 18 prayer sessions will be available between the hours of 5am to 11pm.
Only 3,000 individuals are permitted to join in total every day at these temples.
Only 250 individuals are allowed to join every session held by these temples.
For the rest of the temples in Malaysia, 12 prayer sessions will be allocated on the 16th, 17th, and 19th January 2022 between the hours of 5am to 5pm. On the 18th of January 2022, 18 prayer sessions will be available between the hours of 5am to 11pm.
Only 500 individuals are permitted to join in total every day at these temples.
Only 50 individuals are permitted to join for every session held at these temples.
What Are Not Allowed:
- Kavadi events
- Thanir phandal and anathanam (the distribution of food and drinks)
- Temporary food stalls that are set up outside temple grounds
Other miscellaneous SOPs:
- Head shaving is allowed in accordance with current SOPs allocated to barbershops.
- Permanent stalls that are set up by temple managements on temple grounds will be allowed.
- Ritual baths are permitted in designated areas selected by temple management.
- Temples will be instructed to cancel all ceremonies in the event a positive COVID-19 case is found involving Thaipusam ceremonies held any of the earlier dates of 14th to 17th and 18th January 2022.