The Tamil Nadu government has announced that this yearâ€™s much anticipated Chennai Book Fair will be held between February 16 and March 6, on Thursday, February 3. The government has also issued guidelines to be followed while holding the fair. Due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in Chennai, Booksellers and Publishers Association of South India (BAPASI) had to postpone the Chennai book fair that was to be held from January 6 to 23 at YMCA Grounds, Nandanam.
According to a report in The Hindu, more than 80% of the infrastructure for the event is ready. Work on the main pavilion, which is spread across 3 lakh square feet to accommodate 800 stalls, is completed, along with that of the washrooms and the stage for events where the guests will be participating.
After the state witnessed an increasing number of COVID-19 cases with a fresh wave triggered by the Omicron variant, the book fair was postponed. However, members of BAPASI had submitted a petition to the Chief Minister MK Stalin seeking to provide permission to conduct the book fair following all the safety measures like last year.
A government order on Thursday said that based on considerations, permission was granted to conduct the fair in the said period. The guidelines issued to those conducting the bookfair are:
> Those aged above 65, pregnant women, those with comorbidities and newborns should not be allowed into the fair.
> In order to avoid crowding at ticket counters, online tickets can be issued.
> An entrance and an exit must be set up in each stall, enabling readers to enter and exit via separate paths
> Only three persons must be allowed in a stall at any given time, and they might be allowed to browse and purchase for 10-15 minutes while following physical distancing
> Fair shall be conducted between 10 and to 7 pm on all days
> No air-conditioning allowed
> Those working must wear gloves without fail
> Visitors must be allowed only after washing their hands or using hand sanitiser, thermal scanner and pulse oximeter checking must be done. Mask complacency must be maintained. Eating, drinking and spitting inside or near the premises of the fair is prohibited.
> Hand sanitising facilities must be made available at all stalls, entrances, exits and restrooms
> The stalls should be maintained with sufficient space between them
> Markings must be made to facilitate physical distancing
> The restrooms must be adequately cleaned and sanitised
> The guidelines imposed by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19 must be pasted so that the visitors can read them. Awareness messages must be broadcasted through speakers
> One stall must be allocated to the Disaster Management and Health services department to create awareness about COVID-19
> Should strictly avoid overcrowding
> The stalls must be sanitised each day before and after the fair