New Guidelines Issued: Masks in Public Places Now Mandatory


New Delhi: The Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday issued a set of fresh guidelines for the second phase of coronavirus lockdown asking states and Union Territories not to dilute them in any manner and impose stricter measures as per local requirements.

According to the fresh guidelines, industries functioning in rural areas, outside municipal areas, have been allowed to resume operations from April 30 but with strict social distancing norms. Besides, manufacturing units producing essential goods such as drugs and medicines have also been allowed to function.

The central government has made wearing of mask compulsory in public places across the country.Grocery stores, fruits, vegetables shops/ carts, milk booths, poultry, meat and fish shop have been allowed to remain open during lockdown.

Services provided by self-employed electrician, IT repairs, plumbers, motor mechanics, carpenters to allowed from April 20, according to the fresh order.

However, the exemptions given from April 20 will not be applicable in COVID-19 hotspots/ containment zones and the State/ UT governments shall not dilute guidelines in any manner but may impose stricter measures as per local requirements.

According to the MHA order, all international, domestic flights shall remain suspended till May 3. All train services will also remain suspended during the lockdown period.

“All social, political, sports, religious functions, religious places, places of worship shall be closed for public till May 3,” the MHA order reads.

It adds that gatherings of funerals and marriages will be monitored and regulated by the District Magistrate.

Educational institutions, coaching centres, domestic, international air travel, train services will also remain suspended till this time, it said.

Public places like cinema halls, malls, shopping complexes, gymnasiums, sports complexes, swimming pools, bars will also be shut till May 3.

Highway ‘dhaba’, truck repairing shops, call centres for govt activities to remain open from April 20: Shops of agriculture machinery, its spare parts, its supply chain, repairs, ‘Custom Hiring Centres, related to farm machinery to remain open from April 20.

Spitting in public has been made a punishable offence and a strict ban enforced on sale of liquor, gutka and other tobacco products.

From April 20 activities permitted include agricultural, horticultural activities, farmers and farm workers in field, procurement of agri products, ‘Mandis’.

The home ministry said permitted industries must make arrangements for stay of workers within their premises or adjacent buildings by observing social distancing norms.

The home ministry said defence, paramilitary, health and family welfare, disaster management, NIC, FCI, NCC, Nehru Yuva Kendra and Customs offices will function without any restriction.

Other ministries and departments are to function with “100 per cent attendance” with deputy secretary and above rank officers.

“Remaining officers and staff to attend up to 33 per cent as per requirement,” it said.

The guidelines said in order to mitigate hardship to the public, select additional activities will be allowed, which will come into effect from April 20.

“However, these additional activities will be operationalised by states and UTs and district administrators based on strict compliance to the existing guidelines on lockdown measures,” it said.

The nation-wide lockdown is aimed to contain the spread of the pandemic that has killed over 370 people and infected over 11,000 in the country.









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