The Union Home Ministry on Saturday eased a lot of restrictions for people ahead of the Unlock 4 phase, which will begin from September 1, Tuesday. After a hiatus of over five months, Metro Rail will resume its services from September 7, in the fourth phase of unlocking but in a graded manner.
To run the metro, a slew of standard operating procedures will be issued by the Urban Development Ministry, as per the Centre's guidelines.
In a significant directive, the home ministry also stated that state governments shall not impose any local lockdown outside the containment zones without prior consultation with the central government. Lockdown will continue strictly in the containment zones till September 30.
The coronavirus-induced lockdown was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 25 and was extended in phases till May 31. The unlock process of the country began on June 1 with the graded reopening of commercial, social, religious, and other activities.
Here's what's allowed and what remains the same in the Unlock 4.0 guidelines:
Things that will be allowed in Unlock 4.0
1. Metro rail services will resume from September 7.
2. Social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious, and other congregations will be permitted with a ceiling of 100 people, with effect from September 21.
3. Ahead of the Bihar Assembly elections later this year, the government has allowed political gatherings as well.
4. Bars have been allowed to reopen from September 1.
5. The ministry said state and union territory governments may permit up to 50 per cent of teaching and non-teaching staff to be called to schools at a time for online teaching, tele-counselling and related work.
6. Students of classes 9 to 12 may be permitted to visit their schools in areas outside the containment zones only on a voluntary basis for taking guidance from their teachers.
7. Open-air theatres will be permitted to reopen with effect from September 21.
8. Higher education institutions only for research scholars (PhD) and post-graduate students of technical and professional programmes requiring laboratory and experimental works will be permitted by the Department of Higher Education (DHE) in consultation with the MHA.
9. There will be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of people and goods. No separate permission, approval or e-permit will be required for such movement.
10. Online or distance learning shall continue to be permitted and shall be encouraged
Things that are disallowed/not permitted in Unlock 4.0
1. Schools, colleges, and other educational and coaching institutions will remain closed for students till September 30.
2. Cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, and similar places will remain shut .
3. International air travel, except as permitted by the MHA, will not be allowed.
National Directives for Covid-19 management
National Directives for COVID-19 management shall continue to be followed throughout the country, with a view to ensuring social distancing. Shops will need to maintain adequate physical distancing among customers.
The MHA guidelines also advised vulnerable persons, i.e., 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 also encouraged the use of Aarogya Setu mobile application.