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Lockdown Extension | What are the relaxations as per Red, Orange & Green Zones

The government has extended the nationwide lockdown to contain coronavirus by two more weeks. But, this time there are some relaxations.

Read on to clear all your doubts about the extended lockdown.


What’s the status of the lockdown?

It has been extended by two weeks from May 4.

Does that mean nothing changes for two more weeks?

Not really. The government has eased rules for a number of activities.

Like how?

The entire country has been colour coded into Red, Orange and Green Zones. The rules are the strictest in the Red Zone districts and progressively gets easier in the Orange and Green Zones.

What do these colours signify?

Red Zone areas are those where the incidence of Covid-19 positive cases are highest, followed by Orange and Green Zones.

So, if I stay in Red Zone my life doesn’t really change. Isn’t it?

Not quite right. If you are in a Red Zone area, you will still be eligible for easier rules from May 4, 2020, although you may not be as lucky as your friends staying in Orange and Green Zones.

Really? How?

If you are in a Red Zone, the following will be allowed:

- Private cars with at most two persons.

- Two-wheelers without a pillion rider

What about offices and businesses in Red Zones? Will they be allowed to function?

Yes some of them, such as the following:

- Special Economic Zones (SEZs), Industrial Estates and Export Oriented Undertakings with access control

- Manufacturing plans of essential goods

- Manufacturing of IT hardware

- Jute industry units with staggered shifts and social distancing

- Manufacturing units of packaging material

And construction and housing projects that have remained stuck for 40 days now?

Construction activities in urban areas have been limited to in-situ construction (where workers are available on site and no workers are required to be brought in from outside) and construction of renewable energy projects.

What about shops? Will all shops open in Red Zones from May 4?

Shops in urban areas, for non-essential goods, are not allowed in malls, markets and market complexes.

However, all standalone (single) shops, neighbourhood (colony) shops and shops in residential complexes are permitted to remain open in urban areas, without any distinction of essential and non-essential.

I need to get my ACs at home serviced. I stay in a Red Zone. Can I call in an AC service provider?

You can, only if you don’t stay in an area classified as “Containment Zone” within the Red Zone district. “Containment Zones” are areas where strictest enforcement of lockdown rules are in place, given the high incidence of Covid-19 positive cases. All private security and facility management services, and services provided by self-employed persons such as electricians, IT repairs, plumbers, car mechanics and carpenters, except for barbers, will be allowed in all areas, except for those classified as “Containment Zones”.

Can I get home-delivered non-essential goods such as clothes through e-commerce companies?

Sorry to disappoint you, but delivery of non-essentials through e-commerce platforms will not be allowed in a Red Zone area. But if you are in the Orange or green zone, then it's good news for you.

What about salons? I badly need a hair cut

Afraid you will have to bear a little longer for this. Barber shops, spas and salons will not be allowed to open.

Can I book an Uber or an Ola to go out?

No, you can’t. Plying of cycle rickshaws and autorickshaws, running of taxis and cab aggregators; intra-district and inter-district plying of buses will remain prohibited in Red Zone districts for two more weeks.

What about offices? Private offices can operate with up to 33 percent strength as per requirement, with the remaining persons working from home. All Government offices shall function with senior officers of the level of Deputy Secretary and above at full strength, and the remaining staff attending up to 33% as per requirement.

Most of the commercial and private establishments have been allowed in the Red Zones. These include print and electronic media, IT and IT-enabled services, data and call centres, cold storage and warehousing services, private security and facility management services, and services provided by self-employed persons, except for barbers, and manufacturing units of essential goods.

Are there any other activities that will be allowed in a Red Zone? A large number of other activities will be allowed in the Red Zones.

These include: All industrial and construction activities in rural areas, including MNREGA works, food-processing units and brick-kilns are permitted; besides, in rural areas, without distinction to the nature of goods, all shops, except in shopping malls are permitted.

All agriculture activities, e.g., sowing, harvesting, procurement and marketing operations in the agricultural supply chain are permitted. Animal husbandry activities are fully permitted, including inland and marine fisheries. All plantation activities are allowed, including their processing and marketing.

All health services (including AYUSH) are to remain functional, including transport of medical personnel and patients through air ambulances.

What about the financial sector such as banks and NBFCs?

A large part of the financial sector remains open, which includes banks, non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), insurance and capital market activities, and credit co-operative societies.

It doesn’t seem that bad after all. It does get a little easier in the Orange Zones. Isn’t it?

Indeed. In the Orange Zones, in addition to activities permitted in Red Zone, taxis and cab aggregators (such as Uber and Ola) will be permitted with one driver and one passenger only.

Inter-district movement of individuals and vehicles will be allowed for permitted activities only. Four wheeler vehicles will have a maximum of two passengers besides the driver and pillion riding will be allowed on two-wheelers.

And Green Zone areas? Does life return to a pre-Covid-19 era? Well, almost. In the Green Zones, all activities are permitted except the limited number of activities, which are prohibited throughout the country, irrespective of the Zone.

However, buses can operate with up to 50 per cent seating capacity and bus depots can operate with up to 50 per cent capacity.

All goods traffic is to be permitted. No State/ UT shall stop the movement of cargo for cross land-border trade under Treaties with neighbouring countries. No separate pass of any sort is needed for such movement, which is essential for maintaining the supply chain of goods and services across the country during the lockdown period.

Do these rules apply universally across India?

Movement of individuals, for all nonessential activities, shall remain strictly prohibited between 7 pm to 7 am.

States/ UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, and with the primary objective of keeping the spread of COVID-19 in check, may allow only select activities from out of the permitted activities, with such restrictions as felt necessary.

What about alcohol? Will wine shops open?

Only in Green and Orange Zone areas. Shops selling liquor, paan, gutka, tobacco etc will ensure minimum six feet distance from each other and also ensure that not more than 5 persons are present at one time at the shop.

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