Unlock3: Centre Considering Opening Cinema Halls With Curbs, Say Sources

Unlock 3: Sources say the centre is moving with caution on easing restrictions as many festivals are scheduled in next month.

Unlock 3: Cinema halls are shut since late-March when India went into nationwide lockdown (File)

New Delhi:

The government is considering a request to allow movie theatres and gyms to reopen with several restrictions as part of unlock3 or the next phase of emerging from the coronavirus lockdown, sources said on Monday.

Schools and colleges will continue with online classes for now, sources said on the likely scenario from August.

An association of cinema halls has recommended to the Information and Broadcasting ministry that theatres be allowed to function with 25-30 percent capacity.

The request has been forwarded to the Union Home Ministry.

Gyms may also open with many restrictions, the sources said.

The Delhi government had asked the centre to allow metro operations, but the centre is yet to take a decision.

Sources say the centre is moving with caution on easing restrictions as many festivals are scheduled in next month.

The decision will be a tough one as India approaches nearly 50,000 COVID-19 cases a day. The country has 14.35 lakh total cases so far and 32,771 deaths, and globally ranks just after US and Brazil.

Even if the centre gives the go-ahead to reopening theatres and gyms, states can take the final decision, sources say.

Cinemas, gyms, schools and colleges have been shut since India went into lockdown in late-March to slow the spread of coronavirus, which has claimed more than 600,000 lives worldwide.

In the phased exit from the shutdown over the past few months, malls, markets and public transport were allowed with restrictions. Limited flights and train services were also restarted.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing his weekly radio show on Sunday, said coronavirus is "still as dangerous" as it was in the beginning. But he said that India had seen a better rate of recovery than others.