NEW DELHI: The Centre recently issued a fresh set of guidelines for reopening almost everything outside containment zones, but Delhi’s wait could be longer. The Delhi government on Thursday issued an order to maintain “status quo” in terms of restrictions in place since last month, till this month-end.
The order issued by Delhi chief secretary Vijay Dev followed the Union home ministry’s guidelines to unlock almost all activities by allowing a graded restart of schools, partial reopening of movie theatres, and large gatherings including political and religious events, from October 15.
“The Covid-19 situation has been reviewed and it has been decided that status quo in respect of prohibited/permitted activities (including activities on trial basis) may be maintained in NCT of Delhi till Oct 31 or further orders, whichever is earl i e r,” read the DDMA order.
This has led to confusion among many business owners such as cinema hall and banquet hall owners, entertainment parks, swimming pools and coaching institutes as they have been allowed to open in a graded manner by MHA from October 15.
Protests and rallies remain prohibited, but there is more relaxation on weekly markets. The DDMA has allowed the opening of Metro, followed by reopening of gyms and yoga institutes which are functioning since September 13. Hotels, restaurants, clubs and bars are also operating in the city. The order states that two weekly markets per day per zone are permitted, which was earlier restricted to one.
Two weekly markets to open per dayITMS
“It has also been decided that opening of two weekly markets per day per zone in all three municipal corporations/ New Delhi Municipal Council/Delhi Cantonment Board may be allowed instead of one weekly market per day per zone,” said the DDMA order. Sources inside the Aam Aadmi Party said that Lieutenant Governor Anil Bajial had overruled the opinion favouring reopening of all weekly markets per day per zone.
The latest DDMA order also clarified that public gatherings such as protests and rallies will continue to be prohibited until further orders. “It seems to be plain politics between the local and Central governments at the cost of livelihood of business owners. We have been demanding raising the cap on public gatherings in banquet halls to 100, which the Centre has now allowed, but the Delhi government has restricted the limit to just 50 people. We are incurring huge losses,” said Vinay Mehra, a banquet hall owner. At present, weddings have to be limited to 50 guests in Delhi and funerals to 20 people.
Cinema hall owners distraught
Cinema hall owners, who were looking to restart business, are now hoping for some luck. There were smiles earlier as the Centre had said cinemas, theatres and multiplexes will have to operate with up to 50 per cent seating capacity. Not anymore after this order.