Unlock 5.0 guidelines suggest possible reopening of more public places and tourist spots, and a comeback of dine-ins in October. By Tanvi Jain
Coming October, as India enters its fifth phase of the ongoing Unlock, amid the soon-to-be starting festive season, let’s find out what the Government has planned to reopen and what will still remain shut.
As per the recent guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), public places such as salons, malls, gyms and restaurants, will be allowed to operate with restrictions, whereas, swimming pools, cinema halls and entertainment parks must remain shut. However, while open-air theatres have been operating since September 21, the Government is yet to consider requests by the Multiplex Association of India, regarding the reopening of cinema halls.
So far, West Bengal is the only state to have allowed the reopening of cinema halls from October 1, but with a limited capacity. “To return to normalcy, Jatras, Plays, OATs, Cinemas & all musical, dance, recital & magic shows shall be allowed to function with 50 participants or less from 1 Oct, subject to adherence to physical distancing norms, wearing of masks & compliance to precautionary protocols,” West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had recently tweeted.
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Similarly, even schools and colleges have been partially reopened since September 21, where students from class ninth to 12th are allowed to voluntarily go to school in order to seek guidance. However, while few states, such as Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Sikkim, agreed to do so, others like Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh, refused to reopen till October 5.
Moving on to the tourism sector, this phase is likely to witness the reopening of more tourist spots. For example, Sikkim has decided to allow free movement of vehicles from West Bengal from October 1, and to reopen for tourism from October 10, for which it has also granted permission to its hotels, homestays and other hotspots to resume services. Similarly, reports suggest that Kerala is also likely to reopen for tourism from next month onwards. Moreover, Uttarakhand has scrapped the need for tourists to show a COVID-19 negative certificate or book for a mandatory two-day stay.
Another state that has decided to reopen for tourism from next month is Odisha. “We have decided to reopen all the tourist spots from October with strict adherence to health safety guidelines amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” Tourism Minister JP Panigrahi told PTI.
Furthermore, Maharashtra has also given a nod to all the restaurant owners in the state to resume dine-in services from the first week of October, but with only half the capacity.
In another media report, Chhattisgarh has decided to lift the lockdown from tonight barring a few restrictions.