In view of the substantial decline in the number of COVID cases, the Union home ministry on Friday asked states and Union Territories (UTs) to consider relaxing curbs for social, sports, entertainment, academic and religious events, as well as night curfew hours.
In an order
, Ajay Bhalla, Union home secretary and chairperson of the national executive committee (NEC), says, "...the state and UT governments to implement a risk assessment based approach on the opening of economic activities as conveyed vide ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) advisory on 18 February 2022 until 31 March 2022."
"Accordingly, after a careful analysis of the local situation, relaxation in various activities may be considered, such as social, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious, festival related gatherings; night curfew; operations of public transport; shopping complexes, cinema halls, gyms, spas, restaurants and bars; the opening of schools, colleges, offices, and other commercial activities," the secretary says.
However, while allowing all these activities, the communication emphasises wearing masks, maintaining physical distancing, hand hygiene and ventilation in closed spaces.
Further, states and UTs are asked to continue with the testing and surveillance, clinical management, vaccination and implementation of COVID appropriate behaviour for managing COVID-19.
In the advisory sent to chief secretaries of all states and UTs by Rajesh Bhushan, secretary of MoHFW, the ministry has advised relaxing various activities for COVID-19 management.
Here are the indicative activities for which states and UTs are advised to carefully analyse the local situation while deciding on relaxations or restrictions.
1. Social, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious, festival-related and other gatherings and congregations may be resumed. The decision for allowing these activities shall be taken up by the concerned states duly guided by the principles.
2. Offline class can be resumed in academic institutes without any restrictions. However, the school administration may also levarage a hybrid model of imparting education through online and offline modes.
3. Marriages and funerals/last rites may be allowed.
4. All shopping complexes, cinema halls, restaurants and bars, sports complexes, gyms, spas, swimming pools, and religious places may be allowed to operate at full capacity.
5. Public transport (railways, metros, buses, cabs) to operate without any capacity restrictions.
6. There shall be no restrictions on inter-state and intra-state movement including transportation of essential goods.
7. All offices, government and private may function without any capacity restrictions.
8. All industrial and scientific establishments, government and private, may be allowed.
9. While allowing all such activities, it is imperative that the national directive, including use of mask and physical distancing shall be strictly followed in all public places.