Under the latest Unlock 5.0 guidelines, wearing of face masks, maintaining social distancing will be mandatory for all attendees.
The Centre has further relaxed norms for functions and other congregations in Unlock 5.0 guidelines released by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Earlier social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious, political functions and other congregations were permitted with a ceiling of 100 persons, outside containment zones.
This has now been eased and capped at 200 persons. The Unlock 5.0 guidelines will be applicable from October 15 onwards.
Those attending the congregation, however, must adhere to all COVID-19 protocols. "In closed spaces, a maximum of 50 percent of the hall capacity will be allowed, with a ceiling of 200 persons. Wearing of face masks, maintaining social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and use of hand wash or sanitiser will be mandatory," the MHA said.
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While the Centre has eased the norms, states and union territories have the final say in the matter. "States/ UT Governments have been given the flexibility to permit such gatherings beyond the limit of 100 persons, outside containment zones, after October 15," MHA said.
Moreover, if such congregations are allowed, states and UTs will have to issue detailed SOPs to regulate such gatherings and ensure strict enforcement of the same, as per the guidelines.
The MHA said that the new guidelines are based on feedback received from States and UTs, and extensive consultations held with related Central Ministries and Departments.
However, several state governments with high COVID-19 caseload, including Maharashtra, have prohibited the opening of cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres and assembly halls.
MHA has also permitted more activities in areas outside the containment zones such as opening up cinemas, theatres and multiplexes with up to 50 percent of their seating capacity from October 15.
Entertainment parks and similar places have also been allowed to open, for which the SOP will be issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW).
Business to Business (B2B) Exhibitions will be permitted, swimming pools being used for training of sportspersons will also be allowed to open.The home ministry reiterated that states will not impose any local lockdown outside the containment zones without prior consultation with the central government. "There will be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement," it said.