As India continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, on Saturday the Home Ministry released guidelines for the next phase of unlocking, providing additional relaxations. While containment zones will continue to remain under strict lockdown, travel has been made easier, and many public spaces will reopen with some limitations in place.
Metro rail services will be restarted and inter-and intra-state travel will also be made simpler. At the same time, while schools will remain shut, students of classes 9 to 12 may be permitted to visit - provided the area is not a containment zone. This will be on a voluntary basis with the permission of guardians to take guidance from their teachers.
But will salons spas and restaurants be open in September?
Going by the Centre's guidelines, yes. The new guidelines make no mention of any of these services, but also notes that "all activities" except those mentioned shall be permitted outside containment zones. As the guidelines note, "shops will need to maintain adequate physical distancing among customers".
It must be mentioned however that while many of these relaxations had been put in place with the previous set of guidelines too, not all states have included them in their list. To give an example, Maharashtra, one of the states with high COVID-19 numbers has in the past remained caution about reopening businesses too fast, lest it bring about a resurgence in cases.