New Delhi: After nearly seven months of lockdown owing to COVID-19, the Union Home Ministry has allowed re-opening of cinemas, theatres and multiplexes outside the Containment Zones with up to 50 per cent of their seating capacity from Oct. 15.
In a letter to Chief Secretaries of all States and Union Territories, Ajay Bhalla, Home Secretary, Government of India, said Entertainment Parks and similar places, Business to Business (B2B) Exhibitions, Swimming Pools being used for training of sportspersons, will be allowed to re-open only after issuing Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) by Departments concerned.
In regard to re-opening of schools and coaching institutions, he said State and UT Governments have been given the flexibility to take a decision after Oct. 15, in a graded manner. The decision should be taken in consultation with the respective school or institution management, based on their assessment of the situation, and subject to certain conditions mentioned in the aforesaid guidelines. Schools, which are allowed to open, will have to mandatorily follow the SOP regarding health and safety precautions to be issued by Education Department.
Bhalla said Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education, can take a decision on the timing of the opening of College, Higher Education Institutions, in consultation with Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), based on the assessment of the situation. Online and distance learning should continue to be the preferred mode of teaching and shall be encouraged. However, Higher Education Institutions only for research scholars (Ph.D) and post-graduate students in Science and Technology stream requiring laboratory and experimental works will be permitted to open from Oct. 15. For such Centrally-funded Higher Education Institutions, the Head of the Institution will take a decision. For all other such Higher Education Institutions — State Universities, Private Universities etc. — they may open as per decision to be taken by the respective State or UT Governments.