The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued “reopening guidelines” on Wednesday, directing the opening up of more activities in areas outside the containment zones, which will come into effect from 1 October 2020. The new guidelines are based on feedback received from states and Union Territories, and extensive consultations held with related Central ministries and departments.
The MHA guidelines have allowed cinemas, theatres and multiplexes outside the containment zones to reopen with up to 50 per cent of their seating capacity from 15 October. The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting will soon issue an SOP in this regard. The use of Aarogya Setu mobile application will continue to be encouraged.
Business to Business (B2B) exhibitions will be permitted to open, for which, SOP will be issued by the Department of Commerce.
Swimming pools being used for training of sportsman will be permitted to open, for which the standard operating procedure (SOP) will be issued by Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports (MoYA&S).
Social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious, political functions and other congregations have already been permitted with a ceiling of 100 people, outside containment zones only. Now state and UT governments have been given the flexibility to permit such gatherings beyond the limit of 100 people, outside containment zones, after 15 October.
In closed spaces, a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity will be allowed, with a maximum of 200 people. Wearing of face masks, maintaining social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and use of hand wash or sanitizer will be mandatory. In open spaces, one has to keep the space in view, and with strict observance of social distancing, mandatory wearing of face masks, provision for thermal scanning and hand wash or sanitizer.
To ensure that such gatherings do not spread Covid-19 cases, state and UT governments will issue detailed SOPs to regulate such gatherings, and strictly enforce the same. All activities, except international air travel of passengers, will be permitted by the MHA.
The states and UTs have been allowed to decide on reopening schools, colleges and coaching institutes after 15 October in a graded manner.
Under the current rules, students from classes 9 to 12 are allowed to visit their schools voluntarily and higher education institutions can be opened only for research scholars and post-graduate students of technical and professional programmes. States and UT governments have been given the flexibility to take a decision after 15 October, in a graded manner. People above 65 years of age, co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.
Lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the containment zones till 31 October 2020. Containment zones shall be demarcated by the district authorities at the micro level after taking into consideration the guidelines of the MoHFW with the objective of effectively breaking the chain of transmission. Strict containment measures will be enforced in these containment zones and only essential activities will be allowed. Within these zones, strict perimeter control will be maintained and only essential activities allowed. These zones will be notified on the websites of the respective district collectors and by the states and UTs and information will also be shared with the MOHFW.
State and UT governments will not impose any local lockdown outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Central government. There shall be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement. There shall be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods. No separate permission, approval, epermit will be required for such movements. National Directives for Covid-19 management shall continue to be followed throughout the country, with a view to ensure social distancing. Shops will need to maintain adequate physical distancing among customers. The MHA will monitor the effective implementation of National Directives.