Covid-19 Lockdown 4.0: What’s Allowed And What Isn’t 
A pedestrian wearing a protective mask walks past shuttered stores in a near-empty Connaught Place during a partial lockdown imposed due to the coronavirus in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Covid-19 Lockdown 4.0: What’s Allowed And What Isn’t 

India further eased restructions, allowing shops and markets to sports stadia to open with conditions, as the nation enters the fourth phase of the lockdown that has been extended till May 31 to contain the spread of Covid-19.

The focus, after nearly two-month-long curbs, has now shifted towards resuming economic activities in the red zones, according to the fresh guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The severest restrictions now apply only to containment zones and these continue to remain out of bounds to all non-essential movement.

“All other activities will be permitted except those which are specifically prohibited under these guidelines,” the ministry said, adding only essential activities are allowed in containment zones.

That comes when confirmed cases of Covid-19 nearly touched 91,000, including more than 2,800 deaths, according to the latest Health Ministry data. The nation had little less than 600 cases when Prime Minister Narendra Modi first announced the world’s strictest restrictions on March 24.

Under the latest guidelines, the government has allowed movement of passenger vehicles within and between states depending on the understanding between the states. The states can now take a call on delineation of red, green and orange zones after taking into consideration parameters shared by the union health ministry.

In the containment zones, the areas with the highest case load, there will be intensive contact tracing, house-to-house surveillance, and other clinical interventions, as required, the ministry said.

Also, sports complexes and stadia will be permitted to open but no spectators will be allowed. Similarly, while restaurants will remain shut across, they are permitted to operate kitchen for home delivery.

The guidelines reiterated the standard operating procedure released on May 11 for travel by trains. Indian Railways started some special trains from May 12 to gradually resume passenger services. This is in addition to the special Shramik trains for stranded migrants.

The night curfew remains, prohibiting movement of individuals between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., except for essential activities.

The guidelines, however, didn’t clarify the status of delivery of non-essential goods by e-commerce platforms in the red zones. Under the last guidelines, online retailers can supply essential and non-essential goods only in green and orange zones. While the latest norms say all activities are permitted until specifically prohibited, they don’t mention anything about online retail specifically.

In a climbdown, the guidelines instead of mandating the use of Aarogya Setu, asked employers on best-effort basis to ensure that the application is installed by all employees. It also said the district administrations may advise individuals to install the app in compatible phones. The contact-tracking and status-check app built has triggered privacy concerns.

The government, however, warned of strict action if the fresh guidelines are not complied. “Any person violating measures will be liable to be proceeded against as per the provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides legal action under Section 188 of the IPC, and other legal provisions as applicable,” the Ministry said.

Here is snapshot of what’s prohibited and what’s allowed:

Still Not Allowed

  • All domestic and international air travel of passenger, except for domestic medical services, domestic air ambulance and for security purposes as directed by the home ministry.
  • Metro rail services.
  • Schools, colleges, educational/training/coaching institutions.
  • Hotel/restaurants and other hospitality services except meant for housing health/police/government officials/healthcare workers/stranded persons.
  • All cinema halls, malls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks and similar places.
  • All social/political/sports/entertainment and other gatherings and large congregations. Sports complexes and stadia allowed to open without spectators
  • All religious places/places of worship shall be closed for public.

Conditions For Opening Shops, Markets

  • Local authorities to ensure that shops and markets open with staggered timings, to ensure social distancing.
  • All shops to ensure six feet distance among customers and also not allow more than five persons at one time.

Requirements At Workplaces

In the last guidelines, the centre had allowed private sectors to operate with certain restrictions such as 33 percent staff in red or orange zones. It has now also shared additional requirement for workplaces.

  • The practice of work from home should be followed to the extent possible.
  • Staggering of work hours should be adopted by offices and other establishments.
  • There should be provision for thermal scanning, hand wash and sanitisers at all entry and exit points and common areas.
  • All workplaces and other sensitive locations to be sanitised regularly, besides ensuring social distancing between workers.
  • There should be adequate gaps between shifts, lunch breaks should be staggered.

Face Covers Must In Public Spaces, Workplaces

  • Spitting to be punishable and social distancing to be followed by all persons in public places and in transport.
  • Marriage-related gatherings to not have more than 50 guests.
  • For funerals and last rites, the maximum number of persons allowed kept at 20.
  • Consumption of liquor, paan, gutkha and tobacco is not allowed in public places.

Also read: Rs 20 Lakh Crore Economic Package With Little Government Spend

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