New guidelines by Centre; decision on schools left to states, UTs

NEW DELHI, Sep 30: The Union home ministry on Wednesday issued new guidelines as States and UT governments have been given the flexibility to decide on reopening schools and coaching institutions after 15 October in a graded manner, and permitting social, religious and political gatherings beyond the limit of 100 persons, subject to certain conditions.

However, the ministry said that restrictions on international travel, except those permitted by the Centre, will continue.

In a statement, it said the activities permitted from 15 October in areas outside the containment zones include cinemas, theatres and multiplexes that can open with up to 50 percent of their seating capacity, for which the (standard operating procedure) SOP will be issued by the ministry of information and broadcasting.

Business to Business exhibitions will be permitted and the SOP will be issued by the department of commerce.

Swimming pools being used for training of sportspersons will be allowed to open for which the SOP will be issued by the ministry of youth affairs and sports.

Entertainment parks and similar places will also be permitted to open from 15 October. The SOP will be issued by the ministry of health and family welfare in this regard.

All these activities had been shut after a lockdown was imposed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The new guidelines are based on feedback received from states and UTs, and extensive consultations held with related central ministries and departments, the statement said. (PTI)