MHA extends the Guidelines for Re-opening
New Delhi: Adopting a cautious approach in view of the fresh global surge in COVID-19 cases, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) today extended the Guidelines for Re-opening, issued on September 30, to remain in force upto November 30, 2020. It also asked States and Union Territories to strictly enforce COVID-appropriate behaviour.
While making it loud and clear that the essence behind graded re-opening and progressive resumption of activities “is to move ahead”, it did not mean the end of the pandemic. “There is a need to exercise abundant caution by adopting COVID-19 appropriate behavior by every citizen in their daily routine,”it stated and stressed on an “urgent need” to instill a sense of discipline and ownership amongst citizens “in order that the resumption of activities is successful and gains made in the management of the pandemic are not diluted”.
The MHA further “advised” Chief Secretaries/ Administrators of all States/ UTs that they should endeavour to promote COVID-19 appropriate behavior extensively at the grass root level and take measures to enforce the wearing of masks, hand hygiene and social distancing of at least 6 feet.
The MHA made it clear that ‘National Directives’ for COVID-19 management shall continue to be followed throughout the country, so as to enforce COVID-19 appropriate behavior.
The MHA will now take further decision based on the assessment of the situation regarding the activities which were reopened after the last guidelines of September 30, 2020. After the last guidelines, the following activities were permitted but with certain restrictions:
- International air travel of passengers as permitted by MHA.
- Swimming pools being used for training of sportspersons.
- Exhibitions halls for Business to Business (B2B) purposes.
- Cinemas/ theatres/ multiplexes upto 50% of their seating capacity.
- Social/ academic/ sports/ entertainment/ cultural/ religious/ political functions and other congregations, in closed spaces with a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity and subject to ceiling of 200 persons.
Following today’s decision, Lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the Containment Zones till November 30, 2020.
“Containment Zones shall be demarcated by the District authorities at micro level after taking into consideration the guidelines of MoHFW with the objective of effectively breaking the chain of transmission. Strict containment measures will be enforced in these containment zones and only essential activities will be allowed.
“Within the containment zones, strict perimeter control shall be maintained and only essential activities allowed.
“These Containment Zones will be notified on the websites of the respective District Collectors and by the States/ UTs and information will also be shared with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.”
The MHA also directed states not to impose any local lockdown outside Containment Zones without prior consultation with the Central Government. 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.
However, it told “vulnerable persons” – persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.
It may be mentioned that since the issuance of the first Order on lockdown measures by MHA on March 24, 2020, almost all activities had been gradually opened up in areas outside the Containment Zones. While most of the activities had been permitted, some activities involving large number of people, had been allowed with some restrictions and subject to SOPs being followed regarding health and safety precautions. These activities included – metro rail; shopping malls; hotel, restaurants and hospitality services; religious places; yoga and training institutes; gymnasiums; cinemas; entertainment park etc.
In respect of certain activities, having relatively higher degree of risk of COVID infection, State/ UT Governments had been permitted to take decisions for their re-opening, based on the assessment of the situation and subject to SOPs. These activities included – schools and coaching institutes; State and private universities for research scholars; allowing gatherings above the limit of 100 etc.
The MHA is considering taking further decision regarding the activities based on the assessment of the situation.