States empowered to mark buffer zones, passenger vehicles allowed
Union Home Ministry on Sunday diluted the norms for “lockdown 4” which has been extended till May 31 by allowing States to operate buses and passenger vehicles while sticking to others existing restrictions, including wearing of masks in public places. The States are also now empowered to designate containment and buffer zones depending upon cases of Covid-19 in a particular area.
In these zones only essential services will be allowed while in rest of the areas all business and economic movements will go on with social distancing norms, according to the new guidelines issued by the Home Ministry.
The night curfew will remain in place from 7 pm to 7 am.
According to the latest guidelines, air passenger services and metro train services will remain shut till May 31. The States were asked to allow all inter-State movement of passenger vehicles and buses with mutual consent. The inter-State movement of all cargo vehicles and empty cargo vehicles will take place without any interruption.
States are empowered to decide the definition of passenger vehicles ranging from taxis, Uber-Ola kind cabs, auto rickshaws, cycle rickshaws and decide on limiting the number of passengers, including in buses.
Changing the earlier rules in certain areas on mandatory downloading of Arogya Setu App, the MHA said employers have to use “best effort services” on employees and district administration to advice the people on downloading the App. The Centre has changed the mind on this regard after critics of the App threatened to move the court against the “illegal” ordering of downloading the App citing privacy rules.
The containment zones will be decided by the States in considering the health data on Covid-19 pandemic of particular areas. The Centre has asked the States to take all tracing, surveillance of Covid-19 patients in the designated containment zones and asked to ensure delivery of responsibilities of district authorities.
However, the MHA said across India people above age of 65, pregnant persons and kids below 10 years must be advised to stay home except for essential needs. The school, colleges and universities will continue to be shut. Consumption of alcohol, smoking, paan chewing in public places is banned across the country.
All restaurants are allowed to operate their kitchen services and engage in home delivery of food items. Restaurants and canteens are only allowed to operate in full-fledged manner at railway stations, hospitals and government offices.
Cinema halls, shopping malls, gyms, bars will continue to be shut till May 31, while sports complexes and stadia are allowed to operate without spectators.
All social, political, religious gathering not allowed and religious paces will be closed for public till further notice. Religious places are closed for public but are allowed to continue their rituals. As many as 50 persons will be allowed for marriage and 20 persons allowed for funeral functions, said the MHA.
Opening of barber shops and spas are left to the decision of the States.
All offices including private are allowed to operate with strict social distancing norms and managers are asked to ensure sanitation of bathrooms, doors, door handles on regular intervals and ensure to prevent congregation of employees in work places.
Office managers are asked to ensure thermal screening and sanitisation at entry points and staggering of working hours to avoid congregation. All shops are allowed to open with social distancing norms and asked the States to ensure that five customers at a time in a shop.
Monday, 18 May 2020 | PNS | New Delhi