Authorities in Hanoi have announced that Huong Pagoda in My Duc District is allowed to reopen on Saturday and weekend pedestrian streets around Hoan Kiem Lake are set to resume operations from Friday.
The decision was announced by Hanoi deputy chairman Chu Xuan Dung at the municipal Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control’s meeting on Monday afternoon.
Speaking at the meeting, Hoang Duc Hanh, deputy director of the Hanoi Department of Health, said that the capital city had gone 21 days without detecting new cases of COVID-19 in the community.
However, as the risk of new domestic infection remains high, Hanh requested the People’s Committee of My Duc District to provide a detailed plan for religious activities at the Huong Pagoda upon its resumption.
In response to Hanh’s request, Dang Van Canh, deputy chairman of My Duc District, affirmed that the COVID-19 prevention and control measures would be the top priority upon the reopening of Huong Pagoda this Saturday.
Specifically, separated rooms have been set up for visitors to complete the required procedure for health declarations.
The number of boats transporting visitors to the pagoda will be also limited.
Visitors will have reduced visiting time and must keep distance between one another.
Like Canh, Dinh Hong Phong, deputy chairman of Hoan Kiem District, home to the pedestrian streets around Hoan Kiem Lake, stated that local authorities had prepared all necessary anti-epidemic measures to welcome visitors back to the famous weekend pedestrian zone from Friday evening.
Previously, authorities in Hanoi had decided to suspend all weekend activities on the pedestrian streets around Hoan Kiem Lake from February 5.
In his concluding remarks, deputy chairman Dung said the city’s authorities and departments agreed to reopen the historical and religious sites starting on Monday.
As for the Huong Pagoda, Dung agreed that the religious site can be reopened, regarding My Duc District’s carefully-prepared plan for COVID-19 prevention and control.
Dung reminded the grassroots authorities to strictly comply with the regulations on epidemic prevention during the operations of these venues.
The Huong Pagoda comprises a complex of pagodas and Buddhist shrines built into the limestone cliffs of the Huong Mountain.
Visitors often take small boats along scenic waterways between the limestone cliffs to access the pagoda.
The Huong Pagoda Festival is among the greatest Buddhist festivals in the northern part of Vietnam, lasting for three months, from the first to the third month in the lunar calendar.
The festival attracts more than one million visitors on average each year.
The People’s Committee of My Duc had previously decided not to organize the annual opening ceremony of the festival this year for fear of COVID-19 transmission.