The central government has brought cheer for gym owners and fitness enthusiasts. In its Unlock 3.0 guidelines issued on Wednesday, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has allowed gyms and yoga centres to reopen from August 5 if they follow specific Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
However, cinema owners have been left disappointed once again. Cinemas, schools and colleges, swimming pools and recreational clubs continue to be on the restricted list of the Centre.
After receiving a representation from cinema owners, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry had recommended to the MHA that halls could be reopened with 25% seating capacity. However, the MHA felt the time is not right yet as coronavirus numbers continue to grow.
Metro services, too, have not been allowed even though states like Delhi have been demanding that it be reopened.
Night curfew has been removed, allowing people to work in night shifts or freely move about for work or other purposes.
The MHA guidelines have reiterated that the ban on religious, political functions and other large congregations will continue. It was expected that this clause may be tweaked since the government will conduct a grand 'shilanyas' ceremony for the Ayodhya Ram Mandir on August 5. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend the event.
An MHA spokesperson did not respond when asked if the Ram Mandir Trust has sought specific exemptions for the event and if they have been granted.
The guidelines said that strict restrictions will continue in containment zones till August 31. The states will still have the freedom to decide if they want to impose restrictions even though the Centre has removed them. Many states have brought back complete or partial lockdowns in wake of rising coronavirus cases.