Unlock 5.0: New guidelines for non-containment zones come into force

New Delhi: Home Ministry has issued new guidelines for opening up of more activities in areas outside the Containment Zones. All the States and Union Territories have been directed not to impose any local lockdown outside Containment Zones without prior consultation with the Central Government.

There will also be no restriction on Inter-State and Intra-State movement of goods and persons as well.

All activities have been permitted outside containment zones barring International travel of passengers except as permitted by the Home Ministry.

According to the reports, under the new guidelines, Cinema Halls and theatres have been allowed to re-open with 50 per cent capacity starting from 15th October.

B2B Exhibitions, Swimming pool for training purposes have also been allowed with strict compliance to the guidelines to be issued by Ministries concerned. All of these will have SOPs issued by their governing ministries and will be permitted to open from October 15, revealed in MHA guidelines

In a major relaxation, States and UTs have been empowered to further relax gathering of people beyond 100 in number. “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”, the MHA said.

However, for indoor spaces, the gathering can’t exceed 50 per cent of the hall capacity or 200 people. For outdoor events, the size of the ground must be kept in mind, though the MHA has not mandated a ceiling. In both cases, the guidelines prescribe masks, social distancing and other Covid protocol, it stated.

Postgraduate students of Science stream and research scholars studying in Universities and Central Institutions will also be able to get back to their classrooms after nod from the authorities concerned.

The decision regarding re-opening of Schools after 15 October has been left to the State governments with clear instructions to continue with online classes as the preferred mode.

On the re-opening of schools, the MHA said “State/ UT Governments have been given the flexibility to take a decision after 15th October 2020, in a graded manner.”

The decision will be taken in consultation with the respective school/institution management, based on their assessment of the situation. However, the ministry said online 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 SOPs regarding health and safety precautions for reopening of schools/ institutions based on the SOP to be issued by the Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSEL), Ministry of Education… keeping local requirements in view,” the MHA said.

On colleges, the MHA said the Department of Higher Education “may take a decision on the timing of the opening of Colleges/Higher Education Institutions… based on the assessment of the situation. However, in the immediate future, institutions only for research scholars and post graduate students from the sciences and technology streams that require laboratory work will be permitted to open.

“For Centrally Funded Higher Education Institutions, the Head of Institution will satisfy herself/himself that there is a genuine requirement of research scholars (PhD) and post-graduate students in science and technology stream for laboratory/experimental works. For all other Higher Education Institutions e.g. State Universities, Private Universities etc., they may open only for research scholars (PhD) and postgraduate students in the science and technology stream requiring laboratory/experimental works as per decision to be taken by the respective State/UT Governments,” the guidelines state.

Home Ministry has informed that strict lockdown will however continue in all the containment zones in the country till 31st October.

The National directives regarding maintaining adequate physical distancing at market places and gatherings will also remain effective.

Persons above 65 years of age, people with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, have been advised to stay at home.

The government has also urged to continue encouraging usage of the Aarogya Setu App.


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