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Centre's Latest Covid Guidelines: Cinema Halls, Theatres Can Admit More Numbers, Swimming Pools Allowed for All

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The Ministry of Home Affairs has also issued an order to enforce guidelines for surveillance, containment and caution to be effective from February 1 to February 28.

The government on Wednesday released new coronavirus guidelines that will allow cinema halls, which were previously permitted to house people at 50% of its seating strength, to operate at a higher capacity. A revised SOP in this regard will be issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, said the Union Home Ministry.

Swimming pools have also been opened for all. A revised order will be issued by Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for this in consultation with the Home Ministry.

According to these new guidelines to be effective for February 1, there will be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of people and goods including those for cross land-border trade under treaties with neighbouring countries.

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No separate permission/approval/e-permit will be required for such movements, the MHA said. All activities have been permitted outside containment zones, except a few which will be subject to strict adherence of SOPs.

The ministry also issued an order to enforce guidelines for surveillance, containment and caution from February 1 to February 28. "States/UTs mandated to continue to enforce containment measures and SOPs on various activities and COVID appropriate behaviour," it said.

All activities save some have been permitted outside containment zones. Those activities which are not allowed will be subject to the strict adherence of SOPs. Social, religious, sports, entertainment, educational, cultural, and religious gatherings had earlier been permitted upto a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity, with a ceiling of 200 persons in closed spaces, and and keeping of the size of the ground or space in view, in open spaces. Now, such gatherings will be allowed subject to the order of the state or union territory concerned.

Business to Business (B2B) exhibition halls had already been permitted. Now, all types of exhibition halls will be permitted, for which a revised SOP will be issued by the Department of Commerce in consultation with MHA.

For further opening up of international air travel of passengers, Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA) may take a decision in consultation with Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) based on the assessment of the situation.

SOPs have also been have been prescribed for various activities, including the movement by passenger trains; air travel; metro trains; schools; higher educational institutions; hotels and restaurants; shopping malls, multiplexes and entertainment parks; yoga centres and gymnasiums, etc. These SOPs shall be strictly enforced by the authorities concerned, who shall be responsible for their strict observance.

Local restrictions

There shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods including those for cross land-border trade under Treaties with neighbouring countries. No separate permission, approval or e-permit will be required for such movements.

Protection of vulnerable persons

Persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years have been advised to take necessary precautions, and the government plans to keep encouraging the use of Aarogya Setu mobile App.

first published:January 27, 2021, 19:12 IST
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