The fourth phase of the opening up of the economy, that is Unlock 4.0 is set to begin from September 1. Unlock 4 will happen at a time when coronavirus cases have spiralled to more than 34 lakh in the country, and 62,552 people have died due to it.
Under the 'Unlock 4' guidelines, the central government will only mention prohibited activities and the rest will be allowed to resume. Moreover, strict enforcement of lockdown in containment zones will continue across India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had first announced the lockdown, with effect from March 25 to combat the coronavirus pandemic, which was subsequently extended until May 31. Since June 1, the unlock process began with the resumption of industrial activities and offices across the country.
Here's a look at what might get reopened during Unlock 4.0:
1. First and foremost, the government is planning to resume metro services which were halted on March 22. It is anticipated that passengers will no longer be allowed to use tokens for entry and exit. Moreover, in Delhi metro stations, the number of entry points will be heavily curtailed to ensure social distancing norms. The other preparation includes new smart cards with auto top-up facility and stickers on social distancing norms pasted on seats and platform floors.
2. Bars, which have so far not been allowed to reopen, may be permitted to sell liquor over the counter for takeaways.
3. The West Bengal government has allowed domestic flights from COVID-19 hotspots to land in Kolkata during Unlock 4.0.
4. In Chennai, e-passes will remain mandatory for inter-state and inter-district movement. Moreover, the Tamil Nadu government might ease the restriction on liquor shops and hotels from September 1.
What will remain closed in Unlock 4.0:
1. Schools and colleges may not reopen anytime soon, but deliberations are underway to allow the reopening of higher educational institutions such as universities, IITs and IIMs. In Kolkata, educational institutions such as schools, colleges, and universities will remain closed until 20 September.
2. There's a high possibility that cinema halls will remain shut during this unlock phase as well.
3. Social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious functions, and other large congregations are also likely to remain prohibited next month.