India sets new rules for staggered office hours, night curfews

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has updated its guidelines to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
By: | December 1, 2020

These new guidelines include staggered office hours in cities having a COVID-19 positivity rate of more than 10%. “In cities where the weekly case positivity rate is more than 10%, states and UTs [union territories] concerned shall consider implementing staggered office timings, with a view to reduce employees attending office at the same time,” the guidelines said. 

The ministry has also advised both public and private companies to put in place social distancing measures in their offices. 

For night curfews, states and UTs now have more autonomy to impose restrictions depending on their own evaluation of local conditions. Crowded markets and weekly bazaars will be closely monitored, and the health ministry has been tasked to come up with standard operating procedures (SOPs) to control the number of people within these places. The SOPs are to be “strictly enforced by states and UTs”, said The Times of India. 

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The new guidelines keep the number of people gathered for social, religious, entertainment, sports and cultural events in enclosed spaces at 50% of the maximum capacity with a cap at 200 people. However, states and UTs can decrease the cap to 100 people or less depending on the situation.  

States and UTs now have the authority to impose fines on people caught not wearing face masks in public and work spaces.