The Union Home Ministry on Sunday diluted the norms by allowing States to operate buses and passenger vehicles while keeping Lockdown rules till May 31 with social distancing norms and wearing of masks in public places. Removing the earlier Red-Orange Zone rules, the States are now empowered to designate Containment and Buffer Zones depending upon the veracity of a COVID-19 pandemic in a particular area. In these zones, only essential services will be allowed and the rest of the areas, all business and economic and movements allowed while adhering to social distancing norms, according to the new guidelines issued by the Home Ministry, adding that that night curfew will remain from 7 PM to 7 AM.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA), the latest guidelines air passenger services and metro train services will be closed till May 31. The states were asked to allow all interstate movement of passenger vehicles and buses to be decided mutually while allowing all cargo vehicles and empty cargo vehicles without any interruption. States are empowered to decide the definition of passenger vehicles ranging from taxis, Uber-Ola cabs, auto-rickshaws, cycle rickshaws, and a limit on the number of passengers including in buses.
Changing the earlier rules in certain areas on mandatory downloading of the Arogya Setu App, the MHA said that employers have to use “best-effort services” on employees and District administration to advise the people on downloading the App. The Centre has changed the mind in this regard after many declared of moving court against the “illegal” ordering of downloading App in mobile phones citing privacy rules. The detailed MHA Guidelines are published below this article.
The containment zones will be decided by the States in considering the health data on COVID-19 pandemic of particular areas. Centre has asked the States to take all tracing, surveillance of COVID-19 patients in the designated containment zones, and asked to ensure delivery of responsibilities of District authorities. However, MHA said that across India, people above the age of 65, pregnant persons, and kids below 10 years must be advised to stay home except for essential needs. The school, colleges, and universities will continue to be shut. Consumption of alcohol, smoking, paan chewing in public places is banned across India.
All restaurants are allowed to operate their kitchen services and engage in-home delivery of spot parcel delivery of food items. Restaurants and canteens are only allowed to operate in a full-fledged manner at railway stations, hospitals, and government office complexes. Cinema halls, shopping malls, gyms, bars continue to shut till May 31, while sports complexes and stadia are allowed to operate without spectators. All social, political, religious gathering not allowed and religious paces will be closed for public till further notice. Religious places are closed for public only and religious places are allowed to continue their rituals. As many as 50 persons allowed for marriage and 20 persons allowed for funeral functions, said MHA. Opening of barbershops and spas are left to the decision of the States.
All offices including private are allowed to operate with strict social distancing norms and managers are asked to ensure sanitation of bathrooms, doors, door handles at regular intervals, and ensure to prevent the congregation of employees in workplaces. Office managers are asked to ensure thermal screening and sanitization at entry points and staggering of working hours to avoid the congregation. All shops are allowed to open with social distancing norms and asked the States to ensure that five customers at a time in a shop.
The detailed MHA Guidelines is published below: