Unlock 5.0 guidelines: From cinema halls to tourism, here's what to expect

Members of the medical staff treat a patient who is wearing helmet-based ventilator in Houston.
The Centre is expected to announce Unlock 5.0 guidelines to further ease coronavirus-related restrictions in a day or two. The current phase, 'Unlock 4.0', which earlier allowed several relaxations like resumption of metro services, tourism activities and partial reopening of schools, is ending on Wednesday (September 30).

Here's what to expect from Unlock 5.0, which will kick in from October 1:

More ‘micro-containment’ zones: In his meeting with the chief ministers of the seven worst-hit states, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had stressed on reassessing containment and lockdowns in a way that curbed the spread of Covid-19. The PM pitched the idea of increasing micro-containment zones.

Economic activities: PM Modi on September 23 said, along with its fight against covid-19 infection, the country would have to move forward with full force on the economic front. Hence, the government is likely to open up other sectors to promote economic activities.

Tourism: The coronavirus pandemic has dealt a crippling blow to the Indian travel and tourism industry and the entire value chain linked to the sector is likely to lose around Rs 5 trillion, according to a study by the Confederation of Indian Industry and hospitality consulting firm Hotelivate. Under 'Unlock 4.0' guidelines, this sector witnessed some recovery with the reopening of a few tourist destinations, including Agra’s Taj Mahal. It is likely to see more recovery during Unlock 5 as more tourism centres and tourist places open their doors for travellers.

Cinema Halls: Unlock 5.0 may bring good tidings for movie goes and producers. Despite appeals from the Multiplex Association of India, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had earlier given its approval to opening of air theatres only. However, in August, Amit Khare, secretary in the information and broadcasting ministry, gave the home ministry a seating arrangement formula for movie theatres. According to the plan, alternate seats in the first row and the next were to be kept vacant in order to maintain social distancing. Cinema halls might be reopened for public with this arrangement in place.

Schools/colleges: MHA permitted resumption of schools and colleges with restrictions. However, few states permitted schools to reopen. These states are likely to review their decision.

Guidelines from Unlock 4.0 that are expected to continue unchanged

Containment zones: Strict enforcement of lockdown in containment zones is likely to continue beyond October 1.

Social/ academic/ sports/ entertainment/ cultural/ religious/ political functions and other congregations were permitted with a ceiling of 100 persons from September 21. This limit is expected to be the same.

International air travel of passengers, except as permitted by MHA, may continue to be restricted.

No restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement

Vulnerable persons (those above 65 years of age, those with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years), will be advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.

Offices will be encouraged to allow work from home, wherever possible.

It must be noted that while economic activities are encouraged, the number of coronavirus cases has seen a constant surge. Currently, India's Covid-19 tally stands at 6,145,291 and the death toll is nearing the 100,000-mark.

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