Cinemas, spas, pools to open with restrictions
Multiplexes, swimming pools, spas, auditoriums and entertainment parks will be allowed to open in the national capital from Monday, while the Delhi Metro and public buses will operate with 100% seating capacity, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) said on Saturday, effectively relaxing most restrictions after a decline in Covid-19 cases following a deadly fourth wave of infections in the national capital.
In an order issued by chief secretary Vijay Dev, DDMA also relaxed the cap on the number of guests at weddings and funerals. Previously, up to 50 people were allowed in weddings, while 20 were permitted in funerals. From Monday, 100 guests will be allowed for both gatherings.
Under a lockdown that was imposed on April 20, when the city was well into its fourth wave of infections, a curfew was imposed except for specific activities (such as going to buy groceries and medicines, or for going to a hospital or airports/railway stations). The lockdown restrictions were gradually eased with the decline in infections.
Cinema halls, multiplexes, auditoriums and assembly halls will be allowed to run with 50% seating capacity. Swimming pools and entertainment parks have also been allowed, while sports complexes can be opened for members, even as no spectators will be allowed. Religious places will continue to remain prohibited for visitors. Business-to-business exhibitions can also be held from Monday, but such events will be restricted to business visitors only, according to the order.
Spas have been allowed to open with a set of guidelines. The order said that all employees, especially the masseuse, should either get both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine or should undergo RT-PCR tests every fortnight. It also said that clients will have to sign an undertaking of being Covid-19-negative. Personal protective equipment (PPE) apart from face shields and masks will have to be worn by the therapist/masseuse if the treatment is of more than 30 minutes. Covid-appropriate behaviour will have to be strictly followed as is to be done in any other place, failing which the owner of the spa will face sealing and penal action under relevant sections of the Disaster Management Act.
Buses and the Delhi Metro are currently operating with 50% seating capacity. While this has been increased to 100%, no standing passengers will be allowed, the order said.
Anuj Dayal, executive director (corporate communications), Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), said that from Monday, all Metro coaches will allow around 50 people as against the existing rule of 25 people per coach. “DMRC will be further examining the revised guidelines issued today and if needed, detailed guidelines from the operational point of view will be worked out and communicated accordingly. As standing travel is still not permitted by the authorities, entry at stations will also continue to be regulated through identified gates as per the ongoing practice,” he said.
DDMA has also lifted the 50% cap at gymnasiums and yoga centres. With Saturday’s order, nearly everything will be open from Monday in the national capital. Parks, restaurants, weekly markets and other markets were previously allowed to function.
“It is further directed that the market trade associations, banquet halls, marriage hall associations, gymnasiums and yoga institute association, other trade associations and resident welfare associations shall also be responsible for ensuring compliance of Covid-appropriate behaviours by all shops, malls, markets, market complexes, offices, weekly markets, clinics, banquet halls/marriage halls and residents within their respective areas,” the order said.
Delhi’s Covid-19 situation has been improving over the recent weeks. On Saturday, Delhi reported one Covid-19 death and 66 fresh infections. This comes days after the Capital recorded no daily death from Covid-19 for the first time since March 2, a landmark after the brutal fourth wave of infections between April and May that left thousands dead.