Unlocking India: The lowdown
With the fourth phase of the lockdown coming to an end on Sunday, the government has released fresh guidelines aimed at lifting restrictions across the country
What’s the big change?
The focus is now on unlocking India in phases. Places of worship, shopping malls, and hotels and restaurants can open from June 8
Are there other relaxations?
Not immediately. In the second phase, the focus will be on the reopening of educational institutes. The government will hold consultations with states and UTs, which can discuss the matter with parents and stakeholders. A decision is likely in July
What about cinema halls?
Cinema halls, gyms, swimming pools, bars, and auditoriums are still banned. So are large gatherings including social, political, religious, and sporting events. A call will be taken in the third phase. No date has been set for that
Will the night curfew remain?
The night curfew prohibiting non-essential travel has been relaxed. The ban on such movement will be applicable between 9pm and 5am
Are there restrictions on the movement between two states?
There will be no intra- or inter-state restrictions on movement of people and goods; no special permits will be necessary. However, if a state/UT wishes to retain curbs due to a public health situation, it has to publicise in advance the rules and the procedure to be followed
What about air and train travel?
The government has already started limited train and domestic air services. International air travel, except for those permitted by the home ministry such as flights for evacuation missions, and metro rail services continue to be banned across the country. These activities too will be taken up in the third phase
Can states and UTs tweak the Centre’s guidelines?
Yes, states/UT governments can prohibit certain activities outside containment zones based on their assessment, but they are not allowed to dilute the federal guidelines
What are the curbs in containment zones?
Till June 30, the lockdown will continue in containment zones, which will be identified by district authorities as per the health ministry guidelines. Only essential activities will be allowed in these areas. The government has also empowered states/UTs to identify buffer zones — which are areas adjoining containment zones — and impose restrictions if needed
Is Aarogya Setu mandatory?
The government has reiterated its advice for downloading the contact-tracing Aarogya Setu app, saying it “enables early identification of potential risk of infection”. Employers, on a best effort basis, have been asked to ensure that employees having compatible phones install the app
What else do I need to know?
The fresh guidelines advise people above 65 years, children below 10 years, pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions to stay indoors