Curb on cinema hall seating to be eased (File image)
As part of the unlock strategy, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on January 27 announced a fresh set of guidelines that will allow all activities outside the containment zones. These guidelines would come into effect from February 1.
The 50 percent seating capacity norm imposed on cinema halls, will be relaxed to allow more number of viewers per screening, the MHA said. The standard operating procedures (SOP) for movie theatres would be released by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
The curbs on marriages, religious congregations and other gatherings would also be lifted, but the adherence to COVID-19 safety norms will remain mandatory, the MHA guidelines stated. Till now, a cap of 200 guests was imposed on all marriage events.
The restrictions, however, would be lifted only after the respective state governments and union territories validate the recommendations made by the Union Home Ministry.Also read: COVID-19 cases explained in charts
Swimming pools, which were shut since March last year after the onset of the pandemic, are also allowed to reopen for all from the start of next month.
Previously, the government had permitted only sportspersons to use swimming pools.
All forms of business-to-business (B2B) exhibition malls would also be permitted from February 1. A separate set of SOP will be issued by the Department of Commerce regarding the resumption of exhibition malls.
As for international air travel, the Home Ministry has claimed that a decision would be taken by the Ministry of Civil Aviation after assessing the current coronavirus situation across the globe.
The MHA, in its guidelines, also reiterated that no restriction would be imposed on inter-state and intra-state movement of people and goods including those for cross land-border trade under treaties with neighbouring countries.
The revised guidelines come in the backdrop of falling infection rate in all parts of the country. The daily COVID-19 count
is in its lowest range in the last seven months, while the recovery rate has accelerated to 96.91 percent.