MHA orders phased 'unlocking' of activities outside containment zones; shopping malls, hotels to open from 8 June, decision on schools, colleges in July

MHA on Saturday announced fresh guidelines for phased re-opening of all activities outside COVID-19 containment zones while giving states the freedom to decide what to allow and what to prohibit

FP Staff May 30, 2020 21:12:17 IST
MHA orders phased 'unlocking' of activities outside containment zones; shopping malls, hotels to open from 8 June, decision on schools, colleges in July

The Ministry of Home Affairs on Saturday announced the guidelines for phased re-opening of all activities outside containment zones from 8 June while giving states more freedom to decide what to allow and what to prohibit.

"The guidelines will come into effect from June 1, 2020 and will be effective till June 30, 2020. The current phase of re-opening, Unlock 1, will have an economic focus," MHA said in a release.

MHA orders phased unlocking of activities outside containment zones shopping malls hotels to open from 8 June decision on schools colleges in July

Representational image. AP

The MHA said that shopping malls, hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services will be permitted to open in 'Unlock 1.0' from 8 June, while a decision on starting educational institutes, including colleges and hospitals will be taken only in Phase II, which is in July.

The MHA, however, said that the lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the containment zones, but these will be demarcated by the State/ UT Governments.

Within the containment zones, strict perimeter control shall be maintained and only essential activities will be allowed, it added.

The lockdown was first enforced in March to contain the spread of COVID-19, then extended thrice.  The country is under the fourth phase of lockdown which ends on 31 May.

All activities to open in phased manner, says MHA

All activities that were prohibited earlier will be opened up in areas outside Containment Zones in a phased manner, the MHA said on Friday.

However, states and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may still prohibit certain activities, it added.

Here is a list of activities that the MHA will be allowing in the phased re-opening that comes to effect on 1 June:

In Phase I, religious places and places of worship for public; hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services; and shopping malls; will be permitted to open from 8 June, 2020, the MHA said.

The Health Ministry has been advised to issue SOPs for the above activities for ensuring social distancing to contain the spread of COVID-19.

According to the MHA, schools, colleges, educational/ training/ coaching institutions, etc, will be opened after consultations with States and UTs in phase two of the easing of restrictions, which will start in July.

State governments/ UT administrations have been advised to hold consultations at the institution level with parents and other stakeholders, and a call on opening education institution based on the feedback.

MoHFW will prepare SOP for these institutions, it said.

The MHA said that it may allow international air travel of passengers, Metro Rail services, as well as opening of cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, theatres, bars, assembly halls and similar places in the third phase based on the assessment of the situation.

The decision on allowing social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions/ and other large congregations will also depend on the prevailing situation in the third phase of unlocking activites.

No timeline has been announced for the phase III of the unlocking of activities.

Unrestricted movement of persons and goods

The HMA said that there shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods and no separate permission/ approval/ e-permit will be required for such movements.

However, a State/UT may choose to regulate movement of persons after giving wide publicity in advance regarding the restrictions to be placed on such movement.

The MHA also said that the night curfew on movement of individuals for all non-essential activities will continue, but the timing has been changed from 9 pm to 5 am from an earlier 7 pm curfew.

The MHA had imposed a strict nationwide lockdown on 24 March permitting only essential activities. Subsequently, in a graded manner and keeping the overarching objective of containing the spread of COVID-19 in view, the lockdown measures have been relaxed.

The new guidelines have been issued today based on extensive consultations held with States and UTs, it added.

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