NEW DELHI, Aug 29 - The Centre has allowed opening of more activities in Unlock 4, proposing to start operation of metro rail and raise attendance ceiling for functions to 100 persons, while schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will continue to remain closed for students and regular class activity up to September 30, 2020.
On Saturday, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued new guidelines for opening up of more activities in areas outside the containment zones. In Unlock 4, which will come into effect from September 1, 2020, the process of phased reopening of activities has been extended further. The new guidelines are based on feedback received from states and extensive consultations held with related Central ministries and departments.
Metro rail will be allowed to operate with effect from September 7, 2020 in a graded manner by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and Ministry of Railways, in consultation with the MHA. In this regard, the SOP (standard operating procedure) will be issued by the MoHUA.
Social, academic, sports, entertainment/cultural, religious and political functions and other congregations will be permitted with a ceiling of 100 persons with effect from September 21, 2020. However, such limited gatherings can be held with mandatory wearing of face masks, social distancing, and provisions for thermal scanning and hand wash or sanitizer.
Open air theatres will also be permitted to open with effect from the same day.
After extensive consultation with the states and UTs, it has been decided that schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will continue to remain closed for students and regular class activity up to September 30, 2020. Online/distance learning shall continue to be permitted and shall be encouraged.
However, the following will be permitted in areas outside containment zones only, with effect from September 21, 2020 for which SOP will be issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
n States may permit up to 50 per cent of teaching and non-teaching staff to be called to the schools at a time for online teaching, tele-counselling and related work.
n Students of classes IX to XII may be permitted to visit schools on voluntary basis for taking guidance from teachers. This will be subject to written consent of their parents and guardians.
n Skill or entrepreneurship training will be permitted in National Skill Training Institutes, Industrial Training Institutes, short term training centres registered with National Skill Development Corporation or State Skill Development Missions or other ministries of the Government of India or state governments.
n National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development, Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship and their training providers will also be permitted.
n Higher education institutions only for research scholars (PhD) and postgraduate students of technical and professional programmes requiring laboratory experimental works have been permitted.
On the other hand, all activities, except cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres (excluding open air theatre) and similar places shall be permitted outside containment zones. International air travel of passengers, except as permitted by the MHA, will not be permitted.
Lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in containment zones till September 30, 2020. Containment zones shall be demarcated by the district authorities at micro level after taking into consideration the MoHFW guidelines 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.
The Centre has also ordered the states not to impose any local lockdown outside containment zones.