Restaurants, Hotels, Malls and Places of Worship to Reopen from 8 June; Schools and Colleges Shut Till July
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For the fifth phase of Covid-19 lockdown starting on 1 June, the government has decided to limit restrictions only to containment zones.
As per recent guidelines issued by the home ministry on 30 May, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has directed state governments to re-open all activities in a phased manner in areas falling outside containment zones.
In a major relief to the hospitality industry, restaurants and hotels have been permitted to resume operations from 8 June. Shopping malls and religious places of worship are the other public spaces allowed to re-open from 8 June.
Schools, colleges and other educational institutions have been guided to stay shut till June 30. A decision on re-opening of these institutions will be taken only in July based on state government’s consultation with parents and other stakeholders.
As for other activities, including international air travel, large congregations for social, political, sports, religious, cultural or religious functions and metro rail, cinema halls, gyms, entertainment parks and similar places, dates for re-starting will be based on the assessment of the Covid-19 situation.
The official statement clearly states that all those businesses re-opening 1 June onwards will have to strictly follow Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) after consulting with state governments and stakeholders of the concerned sectors.
Most importantly, state governments have the power to impose restrictions and prohibit certain activities even in non-containment areas based on their assessment irrespective of the home ministry guidelines.
Only Essential Services in Containment Zones
As per the guidelines, only essential services will be allowed in containment zones with strict perimeter control to ensure no movement of people in or out of these zones, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining supply of essential goods and services.
Additionally, the authorities will conduct intensive contact tracing, house-to-house surveillance and other necessary clinical procedures to contain the spread of coronavirus in these high-load virus areas.
Containment zones will be demarcated by the district authorities after taking guidelines of MoHFW into consideration, the statement said.
Outside of containment zones, states have also been advised to identify buffer areas, where new cases are most likely to occur. District administrations have the authority to impose restrictions, ass deemed necessary, in these buffer areas.
Night Curfew Hours Extended
In another change, timings of night curfew has been changed to 9 pm to 5 am from the earlier 7 pm to 7 am. This essentially means that movement of individuals will remain strictly prohibited between 5 am and 9 pm barring essential services.
Home ministry has also clarified that there will be no restrictions on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods and that no separate permission or e-permit will be required for such movements.