Lockdown extended in containment zones till June 30: Home Ministry
A day before the fourth phase of the nationwide lockdown is scheduled to end, the government issued fresh guidelines for a phased reopening of activities in areas outside of containment zones for a month. In containment zones, however, the lockdown will remain enforced till June 30. A night curfew will also be enforced throughout the nation between 9 pm to 5 am. Here's more.
In the first phase, hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality services will be allowed to open from June 8, along with shopping malls. Religious places and places of worship will also open for the public from June 8. The MHA guidelines stated, "Health Ministry will issue SOPs (standard operating procedures) for the above activities, in consultation with Central Ministries/Departments concerned and other stakeholders."
In the second phase, schools, colleges, educational/training/coaching institutions, etc., will be opened after consultations with states and union territory governments. State/UT governments are being advised to hold consultations at the institution level with parents and other stakeholders. Based on the feedback, a decision in this regard will be taken in July. The Health Ministry will issue separate SOPs for the same.
Only a few activities will continue to remain suspended post-May 31. These include international air travel, metro rail services, cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, bars, auditoriums. Social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, or religious functions, and other large congregations will also be restricted. The dates of the reopening of these activities will be decided in the third phase of reopening.
For containment zones—where only essential activities are allowed—the lockdown has been extended till June 30. District authorities will demarcate containment zones in line with the Health Ministry guidelines. States/UTs may also identify buffer zones outside containment zones. There shall be no movement of people in and out of these zones, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining the supply of essential goods and services.
The MHA order stated, "Movement of individuals shall remain strictly prohibited between 9 pm and 5 am throughout the country, except for essential activities." Local authorities have been directed to issue orders under appropriate provisions of the law to ensure compliance.
There will be no restriction on interstate/intrastate movement of goods/persons. No separate permission/approval/e-permit will be required for such movements. States/UTs have been allowed to regulate movement of persons, provided they give wide publicity in advance regarding the restrictions and procedures to be followed. Those below the age of 10/above the age of 65, pregnant women, and persons with co-morbidities are advised to stay home.
The movement of passenger trains and Shramik Special trains; domestic flights; the movement of Indian nationals stranded outside the country and of specified persons to travel abroad; evacuation of foreign nationals; sign-on and sign-off of Indian seafarers will continue to be regulated by SOPs issued.
Face-masks are mandatory in public places/workplaces/public transport. Individuals must maintain a 6 feet distance in public. Shops shall not allow more than five persons at a time. Spitting in public places will be fined. Large gatherings will continue to remain banned. Up to 50 guests are allowed for marriage gatherings and 20 for funeral/last rites gatherings. The consumption of liquor/paan/gutka/tobacco is banned in public.
Work from home should be followed as much as possible. Work/business hours in offices, workplaces, shops, markets, and industrial/commercial establishments should be staggered. Provisions for thermal screening, hand wash, and sanitizer shall be made available at all entry and exit points. Workplaces, common places, and all points that come in human contact shall be frequently sanitized. Social distancing must be followed at the workplace.
States/UTs have been allowed to prohibit certain activities outside containment zones based on their assessment. However, they must not dilute these guidelines. Employers may continue to ensure that Aarogya Setu is installed by all employees on a "best effort basis." District authorities may also advise individuals to do the same. All District Magistrates have been directed to strictly enforce the guidelines.