New Delhi: Issuing fresh guidelines for the fourth phase of ‘Unlock’, the Ministry of Home Affairs on Saturday allowed open air theatres to resume operations from September 21. However, cinema halls, entertainment parks, and similar places will remain shut in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Notably the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in the last lockdown had proposed allowing cinemas with 25% capacity. Also Read - Reassess COVID Situation, Focus on Micro Containment Zones: PM Modi to CMs of 7 Worst-hit States

On the other hand, social, political, religious functions and other congregations will be permitted with a ceiling of 100 people with effect from September 21. The permission to hold political and other gatherings came ahead of the Bihar assembly elections, which are due in October-November. Also Read - Coronavirus Update: Low Level of This Nutrient Can Increase Death Risk in COVID-19 Patients

“Social/ academic/ sports/ entertainment/ cultural/ religious/ political functions and other congregations will be permitted with a ceiling of 100 persons, with effect from 21st September 2020. However, such limited gatherings can be held with mandatory wearing of face masks, social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and hand wash or sanitizer”, a statement issued by MHA read. Also Read - Lucknow's Iconic Indian Coffee House Will Now Serve 'Kadha' to Boost Immunity Amid Pandemic

The government also allowed the resumption of metro operations from September 7 in a graded manner. “Metro rail will be allowed to operate with effect from 7th September 2020 in a graded manner, by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MOHUA)/ Ministry of Railways (MOR), in consultation with MHA. In this regard, Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will be issued by MOHUA”, said a statement issued by MHA.

Meanwhile, schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will continue to remain closed for students and regular class activity up to September 30.  Online or distance learning will continue to be permitted.

The MHA said that states and Union Territory governments may permit up to 50 per cent of teaching and non-teaching staff to be called to the schools at a time for online teaching or tele-counselling and related work. Students of classes 9 to 12 may be permitted to visit their schools in areas outside the containment zones only on a voluntary basis for taking guidance from their teachers.