The ministry of home affairs on Wednesday released guidelines for opening up of more activities in areas outside the containment zones. Multiplexes, swimming pools have been partially allowed to resume activities from October 15. States have been asked to take the final decision on the reopening of schools after October 15. State/UT governments have also been entrusted to fix the number of people to be allowed in social/political/religious gatherings. Here are some clarifications.
1. Are all swimming pools open?
No. Swimming pools being used for training of sportspersons will be permitted to open from October 15. A detailed guideline will be issued by the ministry of youth affairs and sports. Swimming pools inside containment zones are not allowed to reopen.
2. Is gathering outside containment zones allowed in October?
State governments will decide this. At present, 100 people can gather for Social/ academic/ sports/ entertainment/ cultural/ religious/ political functions and other congregations.
From October 15, state/ UT governments will decide whether the upper ceiling can be relaxed. But it will not be more than 200 persons if the gathering is in a closed space.
3. Are lockdowns going on in any state?
Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra are the two states to have officially extended lockdowns till October 31, though several relaxations are being allowed simultaneously. State governments/UTs have been asked not to impose any local lockdown outside containment zones, without prior consultation with the Centre.
4. Are regular flights, trains back?
Regular international passenger flights are still suspended. The suspension has now been extended till October 31. Vande Bharat Mission flights and air bubble flights are the only international routes operating.
Regular domestic flights are on. Airlines are allowed to return to 60 per cent of their pre-Covid capacity as well. There has been no new announcement regarding domestic flights.
Regular train services are still suspended. The Indian Railways is running special passengers trains, the number of which are being increased at regular intervals.
5. Do we need a pass to travel from one state to another?
No. “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,” the reopening guideline has said.
6. Will booking counters open from October 15 as theatres are opening?
No. Detailed guideline will be issued later. But according to the SOP prepared by the Multiplex Association of India, there will be no paper tickets now.
7. Are shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, gyms open in all states?
Broadly yes, outside the containment zones as the Centre permitted these to reopen in the earlier phase of reopening. Maharashtra government has now allowed restaurants and bars to restart dine-in services.
8. Will schools, colleges reopen after October 15?
Not necessarily. The state governments will decided on whether to resume physical classes after October 15. This is applicable to states which have not yet decided a date. For instance, West Bengal government is likely to resume schools in November. Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Jammu & Kashmir have already resumed classes. Bihar and Tamil Nadu might reopen schools in October.
9. When will schools reopen compulsorily?
The Centre does not want to force school authorities to resume regular classes. There is no such date before which all schools will have to resume physical classes. Online classes will continue as is.
10. Will attendance be enforced in schools that reopen?
No. It will entirely depend on parental consent.