New Delhi: In the latest phase of reopening to kickstart the economy amid these COVID-19 times, cinemas halls, religious gatherings with restrictions and few schools in parts India will be allowed from Thursday. The opening of these sectors comes after a hiatus of nearly seven months following a nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the deadly Coronavirus.
Only five states are opening schools today onwards for their senior students. While states such as Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have decided to not open schools for now, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Assam and Bihar have allowed schools to reopen in a restricted manner.
As per the Centre’s Unlock 5 guidelines that were announced earlier this month, schools, colleges and other educational institutions were allowed to open outside containment zones after October 15. However, it was left on states/UTs to take a final call keeping in mind the current virus situation.
While theatres and multiplexes will remain closed in states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Chhattisgarh, they will open this week in several places, including Delhi and parts of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, with stringent dos and don’ts in keeping with the new COVID-19 normal.
Ushering in a new era of movie watching, the Union government allowed multiplexes, cinema halls and theatres to reopen from Thursday within the framework of a set of standard operating procedures (SOPs). The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) left it to states to take a final call on the matter.
The SOPs mandated by the Union government include one seat distance in halls, 50 per cent capacity, masks at all time, proper ventilation and air conditioner temperature settings at above 23 degrees Celsius.
Social/ academic/ sports/ entertainment/ cultural/ religious/ political functions and other congregations have already been permitted with a ceiling of 100 persons, outside Containment Zones only. States/ UT were given the flexibility to permit such gatherings beyond the limit of 100 persons, outside containment zones, after October 15, 2020.
With the reopening of these sectors under ‘Unlock 5’, the fear of virus spread will rise. Cinemas are closed spaces, so, those visiting theaters are advised to take all safety precautions.
The festival season is also right across the corner. This can elevate risk of virus spread as people tend to gather in large groups. School-visiting students are also vulnerable and advised to exercise caution.