The Centre on April 30, two days prior to the scheduled end of the second phase of lockdown in India, extended it by another two weeks, but with significant ease of barrier intended to reopen the economy and restart the economic activities even in the red zone, leaving only the containment areas under strict restriction.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has now permitted several activities based on the classification of districts into red, orange, and green zone.
MHA has identified districts with the highest number of positive COVID-19 confirmed cases, contributing to around 80 per cent of respective state/district or a district with a doubling rate of less than four days. Here are the activities that are permitted and what is not in the red zone.
- Movement of individuals/vehicles for approved activities (Two persons besides the driver for four-wheelers and pillion riding is not permitted for two-wheelers).
- Plying of taxis, and cabs apart from cycle rickshaws and auto-rickshaws will not be permitted
- Special economic zones (SEZs), export-oriented units, industrial estates/townships with access control in urban areas have been permitted to resume operations. Manufacturing units producing essential goods (medical devices, pharmaceuticals) are also permitted to function in red zones.
- IT hardware, jute industry, packaging materials manufacturing units are permitted, provided they follow the that safety guidelines.
- Construction activities in rural areas under red zones have been allowed only to in-situ construction where the workers are available on site along with the construction of renewable energy projects.
- All standalone stores (both in urban and rural areas) and shops in residential complexes have been permitted to reopen.
- E-commerce activities are permitted, limited to essential goods.
- Private offices are allowed to operate with 33 per cent of staff strength.
- Government offices will be permitted to function with senior officers of the Deputy Secretary level and above at full strength, with the remaining staff attending up to 33 per cent as per requirement.
- Defense and security services, health and family welfare, police, prisons, home guards, civil defense, fire and emergency services, disaster management and related services, National Informatics Centre (NIC), customs, Food Corporation of India (FCI), National Cadet Corps (NCC), Nehru Yuvak Kendra (NYK) and Municipal services have been permitted to function with no restrictions.
- Operation of all industries and construction activities in rural areas is permitted, including MNREGA works, food-processing units, and brick kilns.
- All agriculture and animal husbandry (inclusive of inland and marine fisheries) activities, including their supply chain, are allowed.
- The operation of all health services, including AYUSH, is permitted.
- Functioning of Banks, NBFCs, insurance, and capital market activities along with credit co-operative societies are allowed.
- Approved operation of homes for children, senior citizens, and widows (inclusive of Anganwadis).
- Apart from courier/postal services, public utility offices (including the internet) will remain open.
- Print and electronic media along with IT and IT-enabled services, data and call centres.
- Cold storage and warehousing services
- Private security and facility management services, services provided by self-employed persons, except for barbers, are allowed.
These are districts with either no confirmed cases till date or no confirmed cases in the last 21 days. Here are the activities that are permitted and what is not in the green zone.
- All activities are permitted except those prevented throughout the country, irrespective of the zonal division. Buses can operate with up to 50 per cent seating capacity, and bus depots can function with up to 50 per cent capacity.
- All goods traffic is allowed. No state/ UT shall prevent the movement of cargo for cross land-border trade under treaties with neighboring countries.
- No separate pass of any sort is required for such movement, which is essential for maintaining the supply chain of goods and services across the nation during the lockdown.
- Air, rail, sea, and metro train services are not permitted, similar to other zones.
- E-commerce is permitted for non-essential items.
- The sale of liquor has been permitted in all zones. However, if the shops are located in malls, marketing complexes, and in containment areas, they are prohibited.
- Shops selling liquor, paan, gutka, tobacco, etc., in public places, will ensure a minimum six feet distance (2 gaz ki doori) from each other, and also that not more than five persons are present at one time at the shop.
The areas with a limited number of cases in the past and with no surge in positive cases recently would be included under the orange zone. The list of activities that are permitted and not allowed in such areas are as follows:
- Operation of taxis and cabs are allowed, with one driver and two passengers.
- The inter-district movement of individuals and vehicles is permitted only for approved activities.
- Private four-wheelers will be permitted to ply on the roads only with two passengers apart from a driver.
- Inter-district and intra-district plying of buses will remain prohibited.
- All economic activities that have been allowed in red zones will also be permitted to resume in orange zones from May 4. These include SEZs, EOUs, and manufacturing units of essential goods, IT hardware, jute, and packaging material.
- Only in-situ construction will be allowed in urban areas apart from the construction of renewable energy projects.
- E-commerce activities will be allowed only for the delivery of essential goods.
- All government offices will be approved to function as per the norms defined for red zones.
These are restriction which is applicable to all zones. These include:
- Limitation on the movement of people between 7 pm and 7 am
- Restriction on movement of senior citizens
- Restrictions on the movement of those suffering from health issues and children below the age of 10 are to stay at home except for health purposes.
However, domestic help and other local workers are allowed to work during the day though states are expected to clarify the rules regarding the same further.
Some businesses/institutions remain restricted, irrespective of the zone, including include schools, colleges, institutions; hospitality services (inclusive of hotels and restaurants) coaching/training centers; places of large gathering such as cinema halls, gyms, malls, sports complex, social, political, cultural and all kind of meeting and places of worship.
Hospitals (OPDs) and medical clinics have also been permitted to operate, irrespective of zones, except containment zones with all social distancing norms.
The states/ UTs can allow only select activities from the list of permitted activities and impose additional restrictions based on their assessment of the situation. The primary objective, as per the Centre’s notification, is to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Movement of stranded foreign nationals, persons released from quarantine, stranded migrant workers and students, pilgrims, tourists, and other such persons is to be facilitated following the Standard Operating Protocols (SOPs) issued by Union home ministry.