THE UTTAR Pradesh Government on Thursday issued re-opening guidelines amid the Covid-19 pandemic, allowing schools, coaching and educational institutes to open in a phased manner following standard operating procedures from October 15; cinema halls and multiplexes to open with 50 per cent capacity and most significantly, allowing public gatherings for religious, political and entertainment purposes with up to 200 people following social distancing.
The guidelines are significant in view of the upcoming Durga Puja, apart from by-election to seven Assembly seats in the state.
As per the guidelines issued by Chief Secretary R K Tiwari, the activities now allowed outside containment zones include phase-wise opening of schools and coaching institutes but online classes and distance learning will continue, be encouraged and given priority. If schools are running online classes and some students want to attend these rather than attend in person, they will be allowed to do so. Students can join their respective educational institutes only after getting permission from their parents and in-person classes cannot be made mandatory without approval from the parents. The education department will issue “Standard Operating Guidelines” for schools, colleges and other educational institutes that would be mandatory for those that want to reopen.
With due permission from the district administration, public libraries will also be allowed to open. On opening of colleges and universities, the Higher Education Department will take a decision and in case of PhD students, those who require use of laboratories will also be allowed to open.
Swimming pools can open from October 15 but only for training purposes and in accordance with the guidelines issued by the (Union) Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. Apart from cinema halls and multiplexes outside containment zones, business-to-business exhibitions can also start operations from October 15.
The guidelines also allow public gatherings of more than 100 people but with certain conditions i.e only up to 50 per cent the capacity of the hall/closed space concerned. However, only up to 200 people will be allowed in closed spaces.
In open spaces, such gatherings for religious, political and entertainment purposes would be allowed but with mandatory arrangements for thermal screening, social distancing, masks, sanitizers, etc. The state government will issue Standard Operating Procedures for such public meetings as well. In containment zones, lockdown will stay till October 30.
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