CHINA / SOCIETY
Many religious venues to reopen in March after temporary shutdown, staff say
Published: Mar 02, 2021 08:37 PM
Photo: Catholic Church in China.
Photo: Catholic Church in China.


Many religious venues across China have reopened or are going to reopen this month after being temporarily shut down during the Chinese New Year (CNY) holiday for COVID-19 prevention and control purposes, venue staffers told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Mount Wutai, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in North China's Shanxi Province, also dubbed one of China's four sacred Buddhist mountains, reopened its religious venues to the public on Tuesday, said a staffer from the scenic spot's management committee.

"Now people are available to participate in religious activities here, such as burning incense and praying to Buddha at the temples [on the mountain]," the staffer surnamed Chang told the Global Times.

Visitors must book tickets in advance and wear face masks, Chang said. They must also show their health codes and travel histories, and have their body temperature checked when entering religious venues inside the spot, he added.

Mount Wutai has reopened because the domestic epidemic situation has largely improved, said Chang. Previously, the spot had been closed for weeks from January 10 to avoid possible COVID-19 transmission amid the CNY holiday, which was between February 11 and 17 this year.

Shaolin Temple in Central China's Henan Province, a world-famous Buddhist Kung Fu monastery, reopened its religious venues to the public on February 26, the temple staff told the Global Times, saying that its tourist reception limit is 75 percent of its daily maximum amount.

In Beijing, where the annual two sessions will be held this week, churches are scheduled to reopen in the second half of March if the local epidemic situation remains stable, according to the city's church personnel.

All [Catholic] churches in Beijing will reopen around March 21, a staffer with a Catholic church in suburban Tongzhou district told the Global Times on Tuesday. "We will make the 'do's' and 'do not's' public for visitors according to the epidemic situation at the time," he said.

Similarly, several mosques in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province, told the Global Times that they are likely to reopen at the end of March. "The exact date has not been set yet," said a personnel with a mosque in the city's downtown Yuexiu district.

Many religious venues across the country were temporarily closed and religious activities suspended before the CNY holiday to prevent the risk of COVID-19 infections. 

Prior to that, in North China's Hebei Province, where sporadic COVID-19 cases and infection clusters were reported in January, some elderly patients in a local village had attended religious activities regularly at a villager's home before they were diagnosed with the coronavirus, Beijing-based Health Times reported in January.


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