The Union government on Sunday extended the nationwide lockdown period till May 31 to contain the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. But the Centre issued fresh guidelines in the new phase of lockdown. In the lockdown 4.0, the Union government issued more relaxations to states in comparison to lockdown 3.0 which ended yesterday.
Several relaxations in fresh guidelines
The new guidelines have allowed several relaxations for the state governments. The Centre has put the ball in states’ courts to make decisions according to various zones. Hence, the state governments will have to decide which activities are to be allowed in such zones. But certain activities will remain suspended across the country as per the guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
E-commerce firms can operate
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) changed its stance for lockdown 4.0 and permitted delivery of non-essential items in the red zones as well. This decision by the Centre for lockdown 4.0 has allowed the e-commerce companies to resume their full operations after a lull of about two months.
Earlier no delivery in red zones
The companies got some relaxation from May 4, they were allowed to deliver even non-essential items in orange and green zones. Unfortunately, all the big cities of the country were in the category of red zones. Therefore, e-commerce business failed to flourish.
E-commerce firms to operate in metro cities
The Sunday guidelines have permitted e-commerce firms to deliver their goods to most metro cities that currently fall in red zones. The government’s decision will also help in opening up the supply of consumer electronics from warehouses in the red zones,” said Srinivas Mothey, senior vice president, Paytm Mall.
Most of the e-commerce firms were advised to focus on delivering essential products in smaller cities despite delivery norms being relaxed during lockdown 3.0. Metros and tier 1 cities book major orders which are close to 70 per cent of total e-commerce orders.
Here are the guidelines of lockdown 4.0
- No metro rail services.
- All domestic and international flights will remain suspended in the entire country except for domestic medical services, security purposes, and so on.
- School, colleges and other educational institutions will remain shut.
- Online classes will be continued.
- States will have to decide zones and which activities to be permitted in such zones.
- Hotel and restaurants and other hospitality services will remain suspended except those meant for housing health/police/ government officials/healthcare workers/stranded persons and so on.
- All cinema halls, theatres, shopping malls, gymnasiums, bars, auditoriums, swimming pools will remain shut.
- Sports complexes and stadiums have got permission to open. Sportspersons can train there but spectators are not allowed.
- All religious places will remain closed and religious congregation is strictly prohibited
- The new guidelines have allowed inter-state movement of passenger vehicles and buses with a mutual understanding of the concerned states and Union Territories.
- There is no relaxation in night curfew and it will continue from 7 PM to 7 AM.
- Senior citizens above 65-year old, pregnant women and children below 10 have to stay at home. They can go out for health purpose or in the case of an emergency.
- All such activities will be allowed in such places which are prohibited under these guidelines, while in containment zones only essential activities will be permitted, as imposed earlier.
- From the safety point of view, employees of all offices have been encouraged to download Aarogya Setu mobile app.