The Ministry of Home Affairs has on 30th August 2020 notified new guidelines for Unlock 4, which is a sincere effort by Union and State Governments to curb the efforts of the pandemic and healing the economy from its ill-effects.To do this, the Government had decided to ease the restriction steps-wise taking small steps at a time and moving ahead cautiously.

Unlock 4 shall start from 7th September 2020, and shall provide ease in restrictions as provided by the Government Guidelines. However, certain states have maintained some of the restrictions practicing the freedom allowed by the Union Government to take their own decisions on this behalf taking care of the situation.

In the beginning, the Central Government has given its nod for permitting the Metro service to be resumed from September 7 with strict adherence to guidelines. Further, in the fourth stage of the government’s phase-wise post-coronavirus lockdown reopening, states will no longer be permitted to impose lockdowns outside containment zones without the Centre’s permission.

Unlock 4.0 guidelines: What is allowed?

i. Metro services will resume from September 7, 2020, in a graded manner.

ii. Social/ academic/ sports/ entertainment/ cultural/ religious/ political functions and other congregations will be permitted with a ceiling of 100 people. Though, strict measures like mandatory wearing of face masks, social distancing, and thermal scanning provisions shall be compulsory have to be followed.

iii.Open-air theatres will be resumed allowed from September 21, 2020

iv. States/Union Territories are permissible up to 50% of teaching and non-teaching staff to re-join schools from September 21 for online teaching-related work but only except the areas in containment zones.

v. Students from classes 9 to 12 shall be able to visit their faculty for doubt sessions voluntarily from September 21 only in areas outside the containment zones.

vi. No restrictions will be imposed any longer on the inter-state and intra-state movement of people and goods. Along with no compulsory requirement of e-passes for such movements except some states;

Unlock 4.0 guidelines: What’s not allowed?

i. As there was unanimity between states and Union Territories to not to open schools till September 30, 2020. Further, Schools and education and coaching institutions shall remain closed for students till September 30. Students shall continue practicing online/distance learning will continue to be practiced;

ii. Cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, and other such places shall continue to be locked;

iii. International air travel, other than for bringing people in India shall continue to remain suspended as earlier decided by the Government or any other purpose as permitted by the Government.

iv. It has been announced that now the states shall no longer be permitted to impose lockdowns outside containment areas without obtaining the permissions given by the Union Government.

v. Still, elderly people over the age of 65 and young children below 10 years of age, have been advised to stay at home and come out only for essential purposes like health services.

Some specific State-wise Guidelines for Unlock 4 from September 7, 2020

1. For the State of Tamil Nadu-

The Tamil Nadu government has announced several relaxations starting September, among the following-

i. No ‘complete lockdown’ across the state, scrapping of e-pass system within districts, and opening of all places of worship.

ii. However, an e-pass is compulsory for those coming in from other states via train, flight, or road.

iii. All places of worship to be allowed to open until 8 PM

iv. Inter-state buses shall continue operating the buses in Chennai shall be allowed to resume from September 1, 2020.

v. Shopping malls, large stores, factories, and IT parks, private sector, and government offices can function with 100% staff.

vi. Tea stalls and restaurants can function from 6 am-8 pm and could be allowed to a maximum of 9 PM for takeaways;

vii. Clubs, hotels that offer accommodation, resorts, etc. can function with adequate SOPs;

viii. Public parks and playgrounds will be open to physical and sports training but without any spectators;

ix. Tourists shall be allowed to enter hill stations like Yercaud and Nilgiris and Kodaikanal based on e-pass from District Collector;

x. Cinema shooting will be allowed with not more than 75 persons on the sets;

xi. Limited inter-state trains to be resumed until Sept 15;

xii. Chennai airport would be allowed to receive up to 50 flights a day;

2. For the State of Maharashtra-

i. No separate permit shall be required for the movement of people and goods intra and inter-state which was required earlier;

ii. Hotels can enhance occupancy from 33% to 50% for its customers and staff;

iii. Attendance requirements for government offices for IAS officer level staff have been raised to 100% and for the subordinate staff likely to be around 30% from 15% subordinate staff.

iv. Increase in the number of local transportation to ferry the essential staff;

v. Students of classes 9 to 12 can visit schools to clear doubts voluntarily from September 21;

vi. Permissions for the opening of gyms could be provided by next week.

Source-  Maharashtra Lockdown guideline dated 31st August 2020

Conclusion-

Therefore, the Government is taking its steps cautiously taking care of the lives and their livelihoods in India until and unless the Government reached in a good position and a medication for COVID-19 is invented and brought to markets for the ultimate welfare of the population and the economy.

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