COVID-19 Unlock 5: MHA Issues New Guidelines for Re-opening
In a fresh set of guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Government of India has opened up more activities outside Containment Zones. However, strict enforcement of lockdown in Containment Zones remains in place till 31st October 2020.
"The new guidelines are based on feedback received from States and UTs, and extensive consultations held with related Central Ministries and Departments," states the ministry.
rmitted from 15th October 2020, in areas outside the Containment Zones:
-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).
For re-opening of schools and coaching institutions, State/ UT Governments have been given the flexibility to take a decision after 15th October 2020, in a graded manner.
The decision shall be taken in consultation with the respective school/ institution management, based on their assessment of the situation, and subject to the following conditions:
-Online/ distance learning shall 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 /UTs will prepare their own SOP regarding health and safety precautions for reopening of schools/ 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/ 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 shall 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/ experimental works will be permitted to open from 15th October, 2020, subject to fulfillment of guidelines.
The ministry has also given relaxation in gathering of people:
-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/ UT Governments have been given the flexibility to permit such gatherings beyond the limit of 100 persons, outside Containment Zones, after 15th October 2020.
-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/ UT Governments will issue detailed SOPs to regulate such gathering, and strictly enforce the same.
However, international travel continues to be restricted.
The latest guidelines also states that no Indian state can impose any local lockdown outside Containment Zones.
"State/ 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," states the order.
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.
National Directives for COVID-19 management shall continue to be followed throughout the country, with a view to ensure social distancing. Shops will need to maintain adequate physical distancing among customers. MHA will monitor the effective implementation of National Directives.
Vulnerable persons, i.e., persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, are advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.
The use of Aarogya Setu mobile application will continue to be encouraged.
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