Cinema halls and theatres will be allowed to operate with higher occupancy, the centre has announced in its revised coronavirus guidelines. The updated standard operating procedures (SOPs) that have been issued amid a steady decline in daily Covid numbers across the country, also allow the reopening of swimming pools for all.
"Cinema halls and theatres have already been permitted upto 50% of seating capacity. Now they will be permitted to operate at higher seating capacity, for which a revised SOP will be issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in consultation with MHA (the Ministry of Home Affairs)," it said in a release.
Swimming pools had reopened for sportspersons last year. The centre has now permitted everyone to use them.
"Now swimming pools will be permitted for use of all, for which a revised SOP will be issued by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MoYA&S) in consultation with MHA."
The centre in its guidelines also indicated that it might increase the permitted strength for gatherings.
"Social/ religious/ sports/ entertainment/ educational/ cultural/ religious gatherings have already been permitted upto a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity, with a ceiling of 200 persons in closed spaces; and keeping of the size of the ground/ space in view, in open spaces. Now such gatherings will be allowed subject to SOP of the State/ UT concerned," it said.
All types of exhibition halls will be permitted, the centre said, adding there shall be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement.
The guidelines will come into effect from February 1.
India, which had reported close to one lakh cases for some days last year, logged just 12,689 coronavirus cases and 137 fatalities today.
The country is running the world's largest anti-coronavirus vaccination drive which is expected to bring down the caseload further.