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Unlock 4 from September 1: What changes, what remains the same

The Union home ministry on Saturday issued the Unlock 4 guidelines under which metro trains will be allowed to resume services from September 7 in a graded manner, while social and religious congregations of up to 100 people will be permitted from September 21.

However, schools, colleges and other educational and coaching institutions will remain closed for students till September 30, with some relaxations for students of classes 9 to 12.

With these guidelines, the government has allowed more activities outside the containment zones, but has kept some things unchanged.

What is new in Unlock 4 guidelines?

• The metro trains, which has been shut since March, when the first phase of the lockdown came into effect, have been allowed to resume services from September 7. The resumption, however, will be gradual, the Centre said in its guidelines. In this regard, standard operating procedure will be issued by the Centre later.

• Bars, which have been shut since March, will be allowed to open from September 1.

• In a significant directive, the home ministry said that state governments shall not impose any local lockdown outside the containment zones without prior consultation with the central government.

• Social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious, political functions and other congregations will be permitted with a ceiling of 100 people, with effect from September 21 but the organisers have to ensure social distancing norms and wearing of masks is followed.

• Students of classes 9 to 12 may be permitted to visit their schools in areas outside the containment zones only on a voluntary basis for taking guidance from their teachers.

• Open-air theatres will be permitted to open with effect from September 21.

What remains unchanged?

• Apart from some relaxations for students of Class 9 to 12, schools, colleges and other educational and coaching institutions will remain closed till September 30.

• Cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres and similar places will remain shut.

• International air travel of passengers, except as permitted by the home ministry, will not be allowed.

• There will be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods. No separate permission, approval, e-permit will be required for such movements.

• Vulnerable persons – those above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years – have been advised to stay at home.

• The use of Aarogya Setu mobile application will continue to be encouraged, according to the guidelines.

The coronavirus-induced nationwide lockdown was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from March 25 and it was extended in phases till May 31.

The Unlock process had begun on June 1 with the graded reopening of commercial, social, religious and other activities.

Unlock 4 will come into effect from September 1 and will continue till September 30.

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