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Unlock 5.0 Guidelines: More Relaxations Likely as Cinema, Tourism Sector Look to Make Recovery

A man walks his dog past a graffiti on a road to create awareness about staying at home during an extended nationwide lockdown to slow the spreading of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Lucknow. (Reuters)

A man walks his dog past a graffiti on a road to create awareness about staying at home during an extended nationwide lockdown to slow the spreading of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Lucknow. (Reuters)

PM Modi had last week, asked states to reassess if lockdowns of one or two days are effective in containing Covid-19 and told them to press on with full strength in opening economic activities while fighting the virus.

With the fourth stage of lockdown drawing to an end, the Union Home Ministry will soon be announcing a slew of relaxations for October. Earlier, in a key development, the MHA had allowed metro trains to resume services. The ministry had also said that more curbs would be eased in the coming days and activities would slowly be permitted in areas outside the containment zones. As industries look to make gains during the festival season, more relaxations are expected under Unlock 5.0 which will come into effect from October 1.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last week, asked states to reassess if lockdowns of one or two days are effective in containing Covid-19 and told them to press on with full strength in opening economic activities while fighting the virus. Against this backdrop, industries and sectors are batting for more easing of restrictions.

EXPECTED RELAXATIONS UNDER UNLOCK 5.0:

Previously, the Ministry of home affairs (MHA) had permitted public places like restaurants, malls and salons to resume operations. Under the Unlock 5.0 guidelines, more activities are expected to be allowed from October with social distancing norms in place. However, despite repeated requests by the Multiplex Association of India, the MHA has allowed only open-air theatres to be opened, from September 21. Notably, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced on Saturday that cinema halls and open-air theatres will be allowed to operate in West Bengal from October 1 with a limited number of participants.

Meanwhile, the embattled tourism sector recently saw marginal recovery with the reopening of tourist spots, including Taj Mahal. The Odisha government announced on Sunday, that it would reopen all tourist centres from October. The state's tourism minister JP Panigrahi said his department had drawn out a master plan to promote several destinations in a bid to attract tourists. Under the Unlock 5.0 guidelines, more tourist sites and places are expected to be open for people.

A decision on resumption of normal classes in schools and colleges was taken and students from Classes 9-12 were asked to attend schools from September 21 on a voluntary basis. The system is likely to continue during the next month. However, Hindustan Times, citing sources aware of the developments, reported that primary classes would stay shut for some more weeks. Universities and colleges have already commenced their admission examinations and the new academic year may start through the online mode.

KEY ANNOUNCEMENTS MADE UNDER UNLOCK 4.0:

The guidelines for the nationwide Unlock 4.0 came into effect from September 1 and allowed the opening up of more activities outside the containment zones. Metro trains were also permitted to resume services in a graded manner from September 7. Social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious, political functions and other congregations were permitted with a ceiling of 100 persons and came into effect from September 21. However, such limited gatherings can be held with the mandatory wearing of face masks, social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and hand wash or sanitizers.


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