COVID-19 rules relaxed: MHA allows theatres to increase capacity

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Announcing further relaxation of the COVID-19 related norms, the Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday said that cinema halls would be permitted to increase their seating capacity. Presently, theatres are being allowed to function with 50% capacity. The change will come to effect from February 1. A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) regarding this would be given by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, the press release read.

Along with cinema halls, swimming pools have been permitted for use by all, previously it was restricted to only sports persons. Similarly, all Business to Business (B2B) exhibition halls have been permitted to open. 

Regarding opening up of international air travel of passengers, the MHA said that the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA) should consult them to make an assessment of the situation and then take a decision.

Social/religious/sports/entertainment/educational/ cultural/religious gatherings which were permitted upto a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity, with a ceiling of 200 persons in closed spaces, have now been relaxed. The MHA said that such gatherings will be allowed subject to the SOP of the concerned State and Union Territory.

The MHA said that henceforth there shall be no restriction on movement on inter-state travel and no special permissions would be required for travelling. “There shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods including those for cross land-border trade under Treaties with neighbouring countries. No separate permission/ approval/ e-permit will be required for such movements.”

Alongside these relaxations, the MHA directed the state and Union Territory governments to take all necessary measures to promote COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and ensure wearing of face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing.

The MHA particularly asked the vulnerable group (Persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years) to take necessary precautions against getting infected with the virus.