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Unlock 1.0: MHA issues guidelines for phased reopening for all activities outside containment zones after the end of Lockdown 4.0

According to the new guidelines, malls, hotels and religious places will open in an incremental manner from June 8

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Saturday issued new guidelines for the phased reopening of the country after the fourth phase of lockdown ends on May 31. In addition, the decree also states that the lockdown in containment zones will continue to remain in force for another month till June 30.

The current phase of re-opening, called ‘Unlock 1’, will focus on restarting the economic activities in the country. Here are the detailed guidelines issued by the MHA with regards to the phased opening of the country.

Phase 1

According to the new guidelines, malls, hotels and religious places will open in an incremental manner from June 8. The government will be issuing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the above-listed activities in consultation with Central ministries/departments concerned and other stakeholders, for ensuring social distancing and to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Phase 2

The government plans to re-open schools, colleges, educational/training/coaching institutions etc, after assessing the current situation and in consultations with States and Union Territories (UT). The Home Ministry order has asked State governments/UT administrations to have consultations at the institution level with parents and other stakeholders. Based on the feedback and state governments’ consultations, a decision on the re-opening of these institutions will be taken in July. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will also prepare SOPs for these institutions.

Phased 3

Based on the assessment of the situation, dates for recommencement of activities such as international travel, metro rail, cinema theatres, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, auditoriums, theatres, bars, assembly halls and similar places will be decided. The central government also plans to permit social/political/religious/entertainment/academic/cultural functions and other large congregations in this phase.

Unrestricted movement of goods and persons

The night curfew timings have also been revised from earlier 7 PM to 7 AM to 9 PM to 5 AM. Furthermore, the Home Ministry has removed all the restrictions of the interstate and intra-state movement of people. But the new guidelines concerning night curfew timing will have to be followed.

No separate permission/approval/e-permit will be required for such movements. However, if the states and UTs, based on their assessment and reasons of public health, proposes to control the movement of people, the procedures will have to be complied with, the MHA guidelines say.

National Directives for COVID-19

The containment zones will be demarcated by the state/ UT governments, after taking into consideration the guidelines issued by the Health Ministry. Within the containment zones, strict perimeter control shall be maintained and only essential activities will be allowed.

The National Directives for Covid-19 management will continue to be followed throughout the country, to ensure social distancing, says the latest order issued by the MHA.

States have been given the liberty to decide the activities they want to restart outside the containment zones. The new guidelines also say that the states and UTs, based on their assessment of the current situation, may forbid certain activities outside the containment zones, or impose restrictions as it deems necessary.

Prohibitions for the elderly

People who are most susceptible to the menace of coronavirus, i.e those above 65 years of age with underlying co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, have been advised to stay indoors, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.

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