Unlock 5.0 | Cinema halls, entertainment parks, swimming pools allowed to open with riders

Representational Image | Cinemas, theatres and multiplexes will be permitted to open with up to 50% of their seating capacity, for which SOP will be issued by Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued “guidelines for reopening” on Wednesday, permitting cinema halls, entertainment parks, and swimming pools for sportspersons to open, and gave States the flexibility to decide if they wanted to open schools from October 15. Higher education institutions in the science and technology stream, where research scholars and post graduate students need to access the laboratory, will be permitted to open from October 15.

The guidelines that will come into effect on October 1 have removed restrictions from all activities except “international air travel”. Only limited international flights under the air bubble scheme and the Vande Bharat Mission allowed by the government are operating currently.

The guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act 2005 state that movement of passenger trains and domestic flights will continue to be regulated as per the standard operating procedure (SOP). Presently, only 310 special passenger trains are running. Lockdown will continue to be enforced in containment zones till October 31.

The MHA said that for enforcement of social distancing, States may use the provision of Section 144 of the CrPC (prohibition on gathering of not more than four persons).

A complete lockdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic was first imposed on March 24. It has been relaxed considerably over the past seven months, with many economic activities allowed. The total number of COVID-19 cases has surged past 62 lakh and more than 98,000 deaths have been reported.


“Cinemas, theatres, multiplexes will be permitted to open with up to 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,” MHA said.

The limit of 100 persons in all kinds of congregations, including those that are religious and political, have been removed, and from October 15, States have been given the flexibility to permit such activities outside containment zones only. However, 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 sanitiser will be mandatory,” the guidelines said, adding that States will issue a standard operating procedure (SOP).

“For re-opening of schools and coaching institutions, State/ Union Territory governments have been given the flexibility to take a decision after 15 October in a graded manner. The decision shall be taken in consultation with the respective school/ institution management, based on their assessment of the situation,” the MHA said. It added that if students preferred 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,” the MHA said.

Watch | Cinema-goers miss theatres

The Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education may take a decision on the timing of the opening of colleges and higher education institutions, in consultation with the MHA, based on an assessment of the situation.

The MHA reiterated that except containment zones, States should not impose any local lockdown at the State, district, sub-division, city or village level without prior consultation with the Central government.

There was no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods, and no separate permission or e-permit would be required for such movements, the MHA reiterated.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 3:04:48 PM |

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