August 29, 2020 : The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India on August 29 issued guidelines for phase re-opening (Unlock 4) allowing many more activities compare to the previous Unlock 3.
The Unlock 4 guidelines :
**In areas outside the Containment Zones, all activities will be permitted, except Schools, Colleges, educational and coaching institutions will continue to remain closed for students and regular class activitity up to 30th September 2020. However,
*Online/distance learning shall continue to be permitted and shall be encouraged.
* States/UTs may permit upto 50% of teaching and non-teaching staff to be called to the schools at a time for online teaching/ tele-counselling and related work, in areas outside the Containment Zones only, with effect from 21st September 2020 for which, Standard Iperating Procedure (SOP) will be issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW)
* Students of class 9 to 12 may be permitted to visit their schools, in areas outside the Containment Zones only, on voluntary basis, for taking guidance from their teachers. This will be subject to written consent of their parents/ guardians and will be permitted with effect from 21st September 2020 for which SOP will be issued by MoHFW.
*Skill or Entrepreneurship training will be permitted in National Skill Training Institutes (ITIs), Short term training centres registered with National Skill Development Corporation or State Skill Developmet Missions or other Ministries of Government of India or State Governments.
*National Institues for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development (NIESGUD), Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) and their training providers will also be permitted.
These will be permitted with effect from 21st September 2020 for which, SOP will be issued by MoHFW.
* Higher Education Institutions only for research scholars (Ph.D.) and post-graduate students of technical and professional programmes requiring laboratory/ experimental works. These will be permitted by the Department of Higher Education (DHE) in consultation with MHA, based on the assessment of the situation, and keeping in view incidence of COVID-19 in the States/UTs.
* Metro rail will be allowed to operate with effect from 7th September 2020 in a graded manner, bythe Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MOHUA)/ Ministry of Railways (MOR), in consultation with MHA. In this regard, SOP will be issued by MOGUA.
* Social/ academic/ sports/ entertainment/ cultural/ religious/ political functions and other congregations with a ceiling of 100 persons, will be permitted with effect from 21st September 2020, with mandatory wearing of face masks, social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and hand wash or sanitizer.
However, marriage related gatherings with number of guests not exceeding 50 and funeral 20 will continue to be allowed upto 20th September 2020, after which the ceiling of 100 persons will apply.
* Cinima halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres and similar places will remain closed. However, open air theatres will be permitted to open with effect from 21st September 2020.
* International air travel of passengers, except as permitted by MHA.
The Unlock 4 guidelines also said that National Directives for COVID-19 Management shall continue to be followed through out the country, such as
*wearing of face cover is compulsory in public places; in workplaces; and during transport.
*Individuals must maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet (2 gaz ki doori) in public places. Shops will ensure physical distancing among customers.
*Spitting in public places will be punishable with fine, as may be prescribed by the State/ UT local authority in accordance with its laws, rules or regulations.
The order also provides Additional directives for Work Places , such as
* As far as possible the practice of Work from home (WfH) should be followed.
* Staggering of work/ business hours will be followed in offices, work places, shops, markets and industrial & commercial establishments.
*Screening & hygiene : Provision for thermal scanning, hand wash or sanitizer will be made at all entry points and of hand wash or sanitizer at exit points and common areas.
*Frequent sanitization of entire workplace, common facilities and all points which come into human contact e.g. door handles etc., will be ensured, including bwtween shifts.
*Social distancing : All persons in charge of work places will ensure adeuate distance bwtween workers, adequate gaps bwtween shifts, staggering the lunch breaks of staff, etc.
**The Unlock 4 guidelines limit the Lockdown to Containment Zones, that
* Lockdown shall remain in force in the Containment Zones till 30th September, 2020.
* Containment Zones shall be demarcated by the District authorities at micro level after taking into consideration the guidelines of MoHFW with the objective of effectively breaking the chain of transmission. Strit containment measures will be enforced in these containment zones and only essential activities will be allowed. There shall be strict perimeter control to ensure that there is no movement of people in or out of these zones, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining supply of essential goods and services. In the Containment Zones, there shall be intensive contact tracing, house-to-house surveillance, and other clinical interventions, as required. Guidelines of MoHFW shall be effectively implemented for the above purpose.
* These Containment Zones will be notified on the websites by the respective District Collectors and by the States/UTs and information will be shared with MOHFW.
**According to Unlock 4 guidelines, * State/UT Governments shall not impose any local lockdown (State/District/sub-division/City level), outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Central Government.
*No restriction on Inter-State and intra-State movement :There shall be no restriction on inter-State and Intra-State movement of persons and goods including those for cross land-border trade under Treaties with neighbouring countries. No separate permission/ approval / e-permit will be required for such movements.
*Movement of persons with SOPs : Movement by passenger trains; domestic passenger air travel; movement of persons on Vande Bharat and Air Transport Bubble flights; and sign-on and sign-off of Indian seafarers will continue to be regulated as per SOPs issued.
*Protection of vulnerable persons : Persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home, except for essential and health purposes.
**Unlock 4 guidelines recommend the Use of Aarogya Setu stating that Aarogya Setu enables early identification of potential risk of infection, and thus acts as a shield for individuals and the community.
*With a view to ensuring safety in offices and work places, employers on best effort basis should endure that Aarogya Setu is installed by all employees having compatible mibole phones.
*District authorities may advise individuals to install the Aarogya Setu application on compatible mobile phones and regularly update their health status on the app. This will facilitate timely provision of medical attention to those individuals who are at risk.
**Unlock 4 guidelines order for Strict enforcement of the guidelines, that
* State/UT Governments shall not dilute these guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in any manner.
* For the enforcement of social distancing, State/UT Government may, as far as possible, use the provisions of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) of 1973.
* All the District Magistrates shall strictly enforce the above measures. **Penal provisions : Any person violating these measures will be liable to be proceeded against as per the provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides legal action under Section 188 of the IPC, and other legal provisions as applicable.