No Malls, Public gatherings, Liquor, Barbershops in Containment Zones
The Union Home Ministry extended Lockdown norms for two weeks more from May 4 by allowing a series of relaxations by classifying the districts into three categories namely Red, Orange, and Green Zones. Public movement is not allowed for non-essential activities in all zones from 7 PM to 7 AM. In Red Zones which are high-risk areas or containment zones private vehicles are permitted with two persons and driver for four-wheelers and non-pillion driving in two-wheelers are permitted while malls, liquor, and barbershops are prevented. Private offices with 33 percent attendance are permitted in the Red Zone while public transport including taxis and even auto-cycle rickshaws are not allowed. In Green Zones buses are allowed with 50 percent seating and taxis and cab operations are permitted. In Orange Zones taxis and cab operations are permitted.
In all zones, educational institutes, public and social religious gatherings not allowed, and District Administrations are empowered to issue 144 rules. The States are empowered to add Red or Orange zones while not allowed to decrease. The Union Health Ministry will decide the classification of Red, Orange, and Green Zones on a weekly basis. Many metro cities including entire Delhi, Mumbai fall in the Red Zone category. The detailed seven-page guidelines are published at the end of this article.
There are at present out of total 773 districts, 130 districts are classified into Red Zones and big cities like entire Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai fall under Red Zones. As many as 284 districts are under Orange Zones and rest 319 falls under Green Zones. In Green Zones, Liquor and paan shops allowed with the social distancing of 6 feet and five persons at a time in a shop.
In all zones, persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, shall stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes. Out-Patient Departments (OPDs) and Medical clinics shall be permitted to operate in Red, Orange and Green Zones, with social distancing norms and other safety precautions; however, these will not be permitted within the Containment Zones, said MHA’s new guidelines issued on Friday evening.
“The Green Zones will be districts with either zero confirmed cases to date; or, no confirmed case in the last 21 days. The classification of districts as Red Zones will take into account the total number of active cases, doubling the rate of confirmed cases, the extent of testing, and surveillance feedback from the districts. Those districts, which are neither defined as Red nor Green, shall be classified as Orange zones,” said Union Home Ministry’s new seven-page guidelines issued on Friday evening. Red and Orange Zones are known as Containment Zones, where local administration is asked to ensure the usage of Aarogya Setu App by all including daily monitoring and surveillance of Covid-19 situations on a regular basis. Hotels, Restaurants, Cinema Halls, gyms, etc are not allowed in Containment Zones.
There is a sub-classification in Red Zones which are very big districts in big cities having Municipal Corporations and having relatively non-affected outer areas. “A number of districts of the country have, within their boundaries, one or more Municipal Corporations (MCs). It has been observed that due to higher population density within the MCs, and consequent greater inter-mixing of people, the incidence of COVID-19 within the boundary of the MC(s) is higher than in the rest of the district. In the new guidelines, therefore, it has been provided that such districts will be classified into two Zones, i.e., one Zone for the area under the boundary of the MC(s); and, another for the area falling outside the boundary of the MC(s). If the area outside the boundary of the MC(s) has reported no case for the last 21 days, it will be allowed to be classified as one stage lower than the overall classification of the district as either Red or Orange. Hence, this area will be classified as Orange, in case the district is overall Red; or as Green, in case the district is overall Orange. This classification will enable more economic and other activities in that area of the district, which is relatively less affected by the incidence of COVID-19, while also ensuring that due caution continues to be exercised so that these areas remain free from COVID-19 cases. This dispensation has been made only in respect of districts having Municipal Corporation (s),” the MHA’s new guidelines allowing relaxations from May 4.
Shops in urban areas, for non-essential goods, are not allowed in malls, markets, and market complexes. However, all standalone (single) shops, neighborhood (colony) shops, and shops in residential complexes are permitted to remain open in urban areas, without any distinction of essential and non-essential. E-Commerce activities, in the Red Zones, are permitted only in respect of essential goods. Private offices can operate with up to 33% strength as per requirement, with the remaining persons working from home. All Government offices shall function with senior officers of the level of Deputy Secretary and above at full strength, and the remaining staff attending up to 33% as per requirement, said MHA. NCC and Nehru Yuvak Kendra’s will work in full strength in all Zones like Police, Health, and Sanitation departments.
The new guidelines reiterated that all truck movements will operate including for non-essential items and stand-alone shops will be opened. However e-commerce in non-essential items in Red Zones not permitted.
The detailed seven-page guidelines are published below: