As India is entering into Unlock 5.0, the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued new guidelines that allow opening of various activities outside Containment Zones. There are some big changes coming into effect from October 15, which includes relaxations to functioning of cinema halls, swimming pools and more after almost 7 months.
In its latest guidelines for further reopening, the Union Home Ministry has allowed certain activities such as functioning of cinemas, theatres and multiplexes with 50% seating capacity from October 15.
However, cinema halls, theatres and multiplexes will have to strictly adhere to standard operating procedures (SOP) issued by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. Meanwhile, Business to Business exhibitions will also be permitted to open from October 15, for which SOP will be issued by the Department of Commerce.
In what can be a breather for professional swimmers, swimming pools being used for training of sportspersons have been permitted to open from October 15. However, they must adhere to certain SOP to be issued by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports.
In news that is certain to bring cheer to many, entertainment parks will also be permitted to open from October 15, said the MHA. These too will have to follow SOP which will be issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
Reopening of schools
While schools have remained a sensitive subject to touch upon for the MHA, its decision has been handed over to respective state and UT governments so they can take a call after October 15 in a graded manner. Online and distance learning will continue as usual. Attendance cannot be enforced on students and parents get the final call on whether or not they want to send their kids to schools.
The limit on social gatherings has also increased. In closed spaces, a maximum of 50 percent of the hall capacity will be allowed or up to 200 persons. In open spaces, keeping the size of the ground in view, social distancing, face masks, thermal scanning, hand wash and or sanitzer must be followed. Detailed SOPs will be released on all types of gatherings soon.
However, the MHA has asserted that these activities will only be allowed in areas outside Containment Zones. "The new guidelines, issued today, are based on feedback received from States and UTs, and extensive consultations held with related Central Ministries and Departments," said the MHA in a statement.
Meanwhile, the lockdown will continue to be implemented strictly in Containment Zones till October 31. The international air travel of passengers is still restricted.