Unlock 5.0: Centre issues new guidelines; cinemas allowed to open from Oct 15

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday issued new coronavirus Unlock 5.0 guidelines, allowing opening up of more activities in areas outside the containment zones.

In these guidelines, which will come into effect from October 1, 2020, the process of re-opening of activities has been extended further. The new guidelines are based on feedback received from States and UTs, and extensive consultations held with related Central Ministries and Departments, the MHA said.

Key features of new guidelines

Activities permitted outside the containment zones from Oct 15:

Cinemas, theatres, multiplexes will be permitted to open with upto 50% of their seating capacity, for which, SOP will be issued by Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

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 sportspersons will be permitted to open, for which the standard operating procedure (SOP) will be issued by Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports (MoYA&S).

Entertainment parks and similar places will be permitted to open, for which the SOP will be issued by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW).

Opening of Schools, colleges, education institutions and coaching institutions

For re-opening of schools and coaching institutions, state and UT governments have been given the flexibility to take a decision after October 15, in a graded manner. The decision will be taken in consultation with the respective school, institution management, based on their assessment of the situation, and subject to various conditions.

The MHA said that online and distance learning will continue to be the preferred mode of teaching and shall be encouraged.

Where schools are conducting online classes, and some students prefer to attend online classes rather than physically attend school, they may be permitted to do so.

Students may attend schools, institutions only with the written consent of parents.

Attendance must not be enforced, and must depend entirely on parental consent.

States and UTs will prepare their own SOP regarding health and safety precautions for reopening of schools and institutions based on the SOP to be issued by Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSEL), Ministry of Education, Government of India, keeping local requirements in view.

Schools, which are allowed to open, will have to mandatorily follow the SOP to be issued by Education Departments of states and UTs.

Department of Higher Education (DHE), Ministry of Education may take a decision on the timing of the opening of colleges, higher education institutions, in consultation with Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), based on the assessment of the situation. Online, distance learning will continue to be the preferred mode of teaching and shall be encouraged.

However, Higher Education Institutions only for research scholars (Ph.D) and post-graduate students in science and technology stream requiring laboratory and experimental works will be permitted to open from October 15 under various conditions.

For centrally funded higher education institutions, the head of institution will make sure that there is a genuine requirement of research scholars (Ph.D) and post-graduate students in science and technology stream for laboratory and experimental works.

For all other higher education institutions like state universities, private universities, they may open only for research scholars (Ph.D) and postgraduate students in science and technology stream requiring laboratory and experimental works as per decision to be taken by the respective state and UT Governments.

Gatherings

Social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious, political functions and other congregations have already been permitted with a ceiling of 100 persons, outside containment zones only. Now state and UT governments have been given the flexibility to permit such gatherings beyond the limit of 100 persons, outside containment zones, after October 15 under various conditions.

In closed spaces, a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity will be allowed, with a ceiling of 200 persons. Wearing of face masks, maintaining social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and use of hand wash or sanitizer will be mandatory.

In open spaces, keeping the size of the ground/ 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, state and UT governments will issue detailed SOPs to regulate such gathering, and strictly enforce the same.

These activities will not be permitted outside containment zones:

International air travel of passengers, except as permitted by MHA.

Entertainment parks and similar places will remain closed.

Lockdown will continue to be implemented strictly in the containment zones till October 31.

Containment zones will be demarcated by the District authorities at micro level after taking into consideration the guidelines of 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 the containment zones, strict perimeter control shall be maintained and only essential activities allowed.

These Containment 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 MOHFW.

States not to impose any local lockdown outside Containment Zones

State and UT governments shall not impose any local lockdown (state/ District/ sub-division/City/ village level), outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Central Government.

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/ e-permit will be required for such movements.

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