FICCI suggests reopening of foreign air services, cinemas, metro rail in Unlock 3.0

India should allow foreigners to travel to the country on a reciprocal basis while accepting the COVID-19 Negative Certificate issued by the Origin Country.

Published: 27th July 2020 03:23 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th July 2020 03:23 PM   |  A+A-

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The controversy over the fake licenses of Pakistani pilots also prompted the US to impose a ban on PIA flights for at least six months. (File | PTI)


NEW DELHI: Industry body Ficci in its Unlock 3.0 roadmap has suggested the government to reopen multiplexes and cinemas and metro rail, and allow international flight services, among others, with adherence to all safety precautions.

The industry chamber has also favoured reopening of schools and educational institutions keeping in mind the local situation, as it outlined standard operating procedures for lifting of several restrictions as part of Unlock 3.0.

The chamber suggested that Indian and foreign air carriers be allowed to operate between two countries.

It also called for permitting usage of restaurant and eateries in hotels, opening up of cinemas and multiplexes and reopening metro rail services.

As the world continues to battle the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become clear that a strategy of long-term total lockdown is simply unsustainable for most economies, Ficci mentioned.

"As lockdown orders continue to be enforced in many parts of the country, businesses and livelihoods are under tremendous pressure due to the collapsed demand, layoffs, and wage reductions," it said.

As the end of 'Unlock 2' is approaching on July 31, 2020, and the country prepares for 'Unlock 3',  there is need to look at lifting of existing restrictions keeping in mind 'Threat of COVID is not over yet and we need to remain vigilant', said the chamber.

It has recommended that it is now time to consider easing the prohibitions placed on sectors such as aviation, sports and tourism, provided businesses follow the guidelines laid out in this document to the fullest.

Laying out its suggestions for international air travel of passengers except as permitted by Ministry of Home Affairs, Ficci said, "Indian and Foreign carriers be allowed to operate between two countries".

India should allow foreigners to travel to the country on a reciprocal basis while accepting the COVID-19 Negative Certificate issued by the Origin Country.

It said a Standard Quarantine Protocol should be issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to be followed by all states to facilitate smooth transit and clarity of rules for passengers.

Moreover, clear cut dates should be announced by the states to open tourism,  monuments, tourist attractions, hotels, restaurants and bars, said Ficci.

As of now, the usage of restaurant and eateries in any hotel is confined only for residential guests who are staying in the hotel.

This arrangement makes F&B operation totally unviable due to the burden of fixed costs involved like manpower, power and fuel etc., said the chamber.

It suggested that all restaurant and eateries in the hotel should be allowed to serve resident as well as non-resident guests, at 50 per cent seating capacity while maintaining social distancing norms and all necessary precautions.

Besides, the chamber said permission should be granted for hosting all kinds of banquet and conference in the hotel, however a ceiling of 50 per cent of venue capacity maintaining social distancing norms should be permitted, enabling the hotel to earn some revenue when other source of business has dried up.

"Metro rail services may be opened. Stations at containment zones to remain closed and trains to not stop at these stations. Security personnel to be deployed at metro stations to ensure SOP is being strictly followed," suggested Ficci.

It further said metro services may start with less than 50 per cent capacity initially and could be gradually increased, along with contactless ticketing as far as possible,  mandatory thermal screening at entry points, social distancing to be maintained at all stations, and seating to ensure distance between travellers.


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