Agricultural, horticultural-related activities, farming, and procurement of agri-products will be allowed from April 20 even as India remains under a nationwide lockdown till May 3, the Ministry of Home Affairs in its latest guidelines said on Wednesday.
The exemptions given from April 20 will not be applicable in COVID-19 hotspots and containment zones and the state governments shall not dilute guidelines in any manner but may impose stricter measures as per local requirements.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his fourth address to the nation on coronavirus pandemic, had on Tuesday said that India could see some ease in restrictions from April 20, but added a word of caution that “…if the virus returns, the relaxations will be rescinded”.
In its lockdown guidelines, the MHA also said that wearing masks in all public places and workplaces was compulsory and spitting in public would invite punishment.
The Centre said that manufacturing, industrial units with access control in SEZs, Export Oriented Units, industrial estates, and townships too will start functioning from April 20.
Permitted industries must make arrangements for the stay of workers within their premises or adjacent buildings for social distancing, the MHA said.
Highway ‘dhabas’, truck repairing shops, call centres for government activities to remain open from April 20.
Manufacturing units of drugs, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, construction of medical infrastructure including manufacture of ambulances will remain open.
Grocery stores, fruits, vegetable shops/ carts, milk booths, poultry, meat, and fish shop to remain open during the lockdown.
Services provided by self-employed electrician, IT repairs, plumbers, motor mechanics, carpenters to be allowed from April 20.
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.
All educational, training institution etc. shall remain closed. Taxis, including auto & cycle rickshaws, and services of cab aggregators to remain prohibited. Cinema halls, malls, shopping, sports complexes, gyms, swimming pools, theatres, bars, etc, to remain closed till May 3.
All social, political, sports, religious functions, religious places, places of worship shall be closed for public till May 3, it said.
Spitting in public has been made a punishable offence and a strict ban enforced on sale of liquor, gutkha, tobacco etc. under the new guidelines.
The MHA instructed state and union territory governments shall not dilute lockdown guidelines in any manner; may impose stricter measures as per local requirements.
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.