Unlock 4.0 — the fourth phase of easing of restrictions imposed to combat Covid that became affective from September 1 — is about to complete a month. There is now talk of Unlock 5.0 with speculations about what restrictions will be eased in the next phase.
Most activities have resumed after the Covid lockdown, especially in the wake of Unlock 4. Unlock 5.0 is expected to open up more economic activities, especially in view of the festive season nearing.
All eyes will be on whether the Centre will allow theatres and multiplexes to reopen. Cinemas have been shut since March 24, when the lockdown was announced, prompting many films, especially in the south, to be released through the OTT platforms.
The Multiplex Association of India had wanted the Centre to allow reopening of theatres in Unlock 4.0. However, the government permitted only open air theatres to function from September 21. The hope now is that multiplexes and other closed theatres will be included in the Unlock 5.0 easing.
The theatres and multiplexes may be asked to come up with a seating arrangement that would ensure social distancing.
Even as an announcement from the Centre is awaited, West Bengal has gone ahead and announced that cinema halls and theatres can function from October 1.
The other sector that is yet to reopen is tourism, one of the worst hit due to Covid forcing layoffs in large numbers. Although, some tourist places have been opened to visitors, more spots and activities are likely to be a part of Unlock 5.
The Taj Mahal has been opened to tourists. Governments like Goa and Uttarakhand whose economies depend on tourism have also eased many restrictions, like quarantine norms and Covid negative certificate, on visitors.
Unlock 5.0 may, however, not let primary classes to reopen as yet.
Unlock 4.0 had allowed schools to reopen partially and conduct classes for standards 9-12 from September 21. However, students’ attendance is voluntary. Many state governments have made parents’ written permission to permit classes 9-12 students on the premises.
Under Unlock 4.0, the Centre had allowed Metro services to also resume from September 7 and had permitted malls, restaurants, salons and gyms to reopen. As part of the gradual lifting of restrictions, it had said social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious and political functions could be conducted with a maximum of 100 people from September 21.