The Union Home Ministry on Wednesday issued new guidelines to allow more activities in areas outside the Containment Zone. These include opening of theaters and multiplexes from October 15 with 50 percent of their seating capacity. Governments of states and union territories are allowed to take decisions regarding the reopening of schools and coaching institutes after October 15 in a phased manner.
However, the Ministry of Home Affairs said that restrictions on international travel will continue, except for the centrally approved visit. The ministry said in a statement that some activities have been allowed in areas outside the restricted areas from October 15 in which cinema, theater and multiplexes can be opened with 50 percent of their seating capacity and for this information and broadcasting The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will be issued by the Ministry.
Swimming pool allowed for players training
Business-to-business (B2B) exhibitions will be permitted and SOPs will be issued by the Department of Commerce. The swimming pool being used for the training of players will be allowed to open, for which the SOP will be issued by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. Amusement parks and similar locations will be allowed to open from 15 October. The SOP in this regard will be issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
All these activities were closed since the lockdown imposed since March 25 to deal with the corona virus epidemic. The statement said that these new guidelines are based on the feedback received from the States and Union Territories and for this extensive consultation was held with the concerned Central Ministries and Departments.
100 persons allowed in the House with conditions
The new guidelines state that the governments of states and union territories have been allowed to allow social, religious and political gatherings outside the restricted areas to a limit of 100 persons after 15 October. However these would be subject to certain conditions such as maximum 50 per cent would be allowed in halls of 200 people capacity and it would be mandatory to wear masks. These new guidelines have come before the assembly elections in Bihar to be held in three phases from October 27.
It states that to reopen schools and coaching institutes, the governments of the state and union territory may decide to do so in a systematic manner after 15 October. Based on the assessment of the situation, the decision will be taken in consultation with the respective school and institute management and will be subject to certain conditions.
Distance education will be given priority
The ministry said that online or distance education will be given priority as a way of teaching and these will be encouraged. Schools where conducting online classes may be allowed to do so if some students prefer to attend online classes rather than being physically present.
Students can go to schools and institutes only after the written consent of parents. The States and Union Territories will prepare their SOPs regarding health and safety precautions for reopening of schools and institutions based on the SOP issued by the Department of School Education and Literacy of the Union Ministry of Education.
SOP will be issued before permission to open schools
Schools that are allowed to open must compulsorily comply with the SOPs issued by the education departments of states and union territories. The Ministry said that the Department of Higher Education, under the Ministry of Education, may take a decision in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs on the basis of assessment of the situation at the time of opening of colleges and higher education institutions.
However, higher education institutes will be allowed to open from October 15 for PhD and postgraduate students in science and technology subjects. Science and technology require laboratory and experimental work.
Strictness in Containment Zone till 31 October
The ministry said that the lockdown will remain strictly applicable till 31 October in the barred areas. The Ministry of Home Affairs reiterated that the states will not impose any local lockdown outside the prohibited areas without consulting the Central Government. To tackle the corona virus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown from March 25 and was extended in a phased manner until May 31.
The ‘unlock’ process started in the country on June 1 and re-opened business, social, religious and other activities in a phased manner. The total number of corona virus cases in India reached 62,25,763 on Wednesday, while the number of dead reached 97,497.