The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Thursday in its order said that the current guidelines allowing various activities like the opening of cinemas, theatres, and multiplexes with up to 50 percent of their seating capacity will continue to be applicable till November 30 in areas outside the containment zones. Earlier, the guidelines for reopening activities issued on September 30 were to be in force till October 31.
There are no fresh changes in the latest guidelines and all major activities have already been allowed but strict lockdown will continue in containment zones, the order noted.
The Ministry said it had advised Chief Secretaries and administrators of all States and Union Territories that they should endeavor to promote Covid-19 appropriate behavior extensively at the grassroots level and take measures to enforce the wearing of masks, hand hygiene, and social distancing.
The decision was taken in light of the pandemic and the approaching festive season.
Here’s a look at what is allowed to re-open and what remains closed following the extension:
- The guidelines said that international travel, except those permitted by the Centre, would remain shut.
- State and UT governments on the other hand have been given the flexibility to decide on reopening of schools and coaching institutions in a graded manner. The decision is be taken in consultation with the respective school and institution management, based on their assessment of the situation, and subject to certain conditions, according to the guidelines. These include schools and coaching institutes and state and private universities for research scholars allowing gatherings above the limit of 100.
- The MHA guidelines also stated that online and distance learning shall continue to be the preferred mode of teaching and will be encouraged.
- Political gatherings in poll-bound Bihar and those constituencies where by-elections will be held have been allowed with attendance of a maximum of 200 people in a close space or hall and in an open space depending on its size. However, the political gatherings can be held only outside the containment zones.
- As per the revised MHA guidelines, academic and other similar congregations in closed spaces will be allowed with a maximum of 50 percent of the hall capacity and subject to a ceiling of 200 persons.
- The activities permitted in areas outside the containment zones included cinemas, theatres, and multiplexes with up to 50 percent of their seating capacity, Business to Business (B2B) exhibitions, swimming pools used for training of sportspersons, entertainment parks, and similar places.
The latest guidelines on unlocking have also asked people to exercise extreme caution and follow Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Jan Aandolan launched earlier this month to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
The coronavirus-induced country-wide lockdown was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 25 and it was extended in phases till May 31. The Unlock process in the country had begun on June 1 with the graded reopening of commercial, social, religious, and other activities.
Notably, the extension comes a few days after India breached the landmark of 100 crore vaccinations. The number of coronavirus cases reported in India in a span of 24 hours dropped below 40,000 after over three months, while the new fatalities registered during the same period remained under 500 for the second consecutive day, according to the Union Health Ministry data on Tuesday. India’s Covid-19 tally mounted to 79,46,429, with 36,470 new infections being reported in a day, while the death toll climbed to 1,19,502 with 488 new fatalities.