The Centre extended the nationwide lockdown till 31 May. The first lockdown was imposed on March 24 and it has been extended for the fourth time till May 31 but this time considerable flexibility has been given to States in deciding red, green and orange zones of COVID-19 intensity.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) released fresh guidelines for Lockdown 4.0 in which they eased restrictions considerably allowing inter-State movement of buses and cars, opening of all shops, except those in malls and containment zones, and the delivery of non-essential items through online shopping platforms. Barber shops, salons can also open.
The 33% restriction on workforce in offices has also been done away with and now offices can operate at full force.
“There should be provision for thermal scanning, hand wash and sanitizers at all entry and exit points and common areas; and all work places and other sensitive locations are to be sanitised regularly. In work places, social distancing would also need to be ensured through adequate distance between workers, adequate gaps between shifts, staggering the lunch break of staff and so on,” the guidelines said.
The guidelines said, “local authorities should ensure that shops and markets open with staggered timings, so as to ensure social distancing. All shops shall also have to ensure six feet distance among customers and also not allow more than five persons at one time.”
MHA said the fresh guidelines allow States to label Red, Green and Orange zones following the parameters set by the Health Ministry.
Schools, colleges, educational institutions, hotels, restaurants except canteens at bus depots, railway stations and airports will remain shut. Places of large public gatherings such as cinemas, shopping malls, gymnasiums, entertainment parks and all kinds of social, political, cultural and religious congregations remain prohibited.
Restaurants will be allowed to operate kitchens for home delivery of food items.
Social distancing is to be followed by all persons in public places and in all modes of transport. Marriage related gathering shall not have more than 50 guests. For funerals, the maximum number of persons allowed is 20,” the directives said. “Consumption of liquor, paan, gutkha and tobacco etc., is not allowed in public places,” it said.