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Movie theatres can reopen with 50% capacity in areas outside containment zones. HT
Movie theatres can reopen with 50% capacity in areas outside containment zones. HT

Schools, theatres can reopen in Unlock 5

Central government allows states and Union territories flexibility to reopen schools and colleges beginning 15 October in a graded manner, on a case-to-case basis, after consulting the institute management and depending on their assessment

Schools, colleges and theatres will be allowed to reopen with restrictions beginning 15 October, and there will be fewer curbs on outdoor activities, under the latest set of unlocking rules aimed to revive livelihoods upended by the coronavirus pandemic.

The central government on Wednesday allowed states and Union territories flexibility to reopen schools and colleges in a graded manner, on a case-to-case basis, after consulting the institute management and depending on their assessment.

India’s schools and colleges have been shut since mid-March, disrupting education for over 300 million students.

Institutions should not insist on regular physical attendance and must allow students who wish to continue online studies to do so, the Union home ministry said.

Online and distance-learning remain the preferred mode of teaching, and will be encouraged, the rules said.

“Where schools are conducting online classes, and some students prefer to attend online classes rather than physically attend school, they may be permitted to do so," it said, adding that students may attend regular school or institutions only with the written consent of parents and “attendance must not be enforced".

Research scholars and post-graduate students in science and technology stream, requiring laboratory and experimental work, will be allowed to come to the campuses with restrictions from 15 October.

As earlier, the relaxations will not apply to containment zones.

Movie theatres too can reopen with 50% capacity in areas outside containment zones. The SOPs for the same will be issued by the ministry of information and broadcasting. However, theatres will be facing a shortage of movies and wary audiences as they prepare to welcome patrons after more than six months.

Swimming pools for the training of sportspersons and entertainment parks can reopen too, subject to SOPs to be issued later.

The latest guidelines also say that social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious, political functions and other congregations that had already been permitted with a ceiling of 100 people, may now extend to more people if states and union territories wish to do so.

In closed spaces, however, a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity will be allowed, with a ceiling of 200 people. Wearing of face masks, maintaining social distancing, provision for thermal scanning, and use of hand wash or sanitizer will be mandatory. In open spaces, keeping the size of the ground or space in view, and with strict observance of social distancing and mandatory wearing of face masks, there should be provisions for thermal scanning and hand wash or sanitizer, according to the guidelines.

Separately, the government also extended the suspension of scheduled international flight services to 31 October.

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