Covid-19: Govt issues guidelines for cultural events, gatherings ahead of festive season

The central government on Thursday issues fresh guidelines and SOPs for cultural event and other social gathering in the wake of novel coronavirus pandemic ahead of festive season.

The guidelines are a part of government's Unlock 5 plan and were issued by the Ministry of Culture today and makes it mandatory for artistes and crew to furnish a valid Covid-negative test certificate, among many other pointers.

"These guidelines contain Standard Operating Procedures to be followed by the management of theatres and performance spaces, as well as the entertainment, creative agencies, artists and crew or any other persons who hire the auditoria or any other open, closed performance spaces, whether on payment or gratis. Comprehensive guidelines have been issued for Artists & Crew, management of Green Rooms, Stage management, Costume and make up trials, Sanitization of venue including stage, Open area seating etc," the ministry said in a statement.

The government also clarified that cultural activities shall continue to be prohibited inside containment zones. Further, State/UT Govts may consider proposing additional measures as per their field assessment.

The National Directives for COVID-19 Management and the relevant guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, State/UT Governments, etc. shall be strictly complied with during all activities and operations.

These guidelines shall come into effect immediately, and shall continue to be in effect until further orders, the government said in a statement.

COVID -19 pandemic has hit the cultural and creative economy all ever the world. However, cultural activities are slowly being resumed. In order to encourage those persons and agencies providing cultural services, as well as consumers of such services, it is important to lay down comprehensive guidelines for resumption of these cultural activities in India.

Unlock guidelines have been issued by MHA from time to time and apply to all Central Govt and other institutions, subject to notification of Containment Zones in the respective cities/States. Unlock 4.0 guidelines dated 30 August , 2020 had allowed

social/ academic/sports/entertainment /cultural/sports and religious functions and other congregations with a ceiling of 100 persons outside containment zones with effect from 21st September, 2020, subject to following of all Covid-19 protocols such as social distancing, sanitization etc.

Unlock guidelines 5.0 have been issued by MHA on 30 September, 2020 and are currently in force. These include:

-Social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious or political functions and other congregations have already been permitted with a ceiling of 100 persons, outside Containment Zones only.

-Such gatherings beyond the limit of 100 persons may be permitted, outside Containment Zones, by State/UT governments after 15th October,2020 only and subject to the following conditions:-

a. In closed spaces, a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity will be allowed, with a ceiling of 200 persons. Wearing of face masks, maintaining social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and use of hand wash or sanitizer will be mandatory.

b. In open spaces, keeping the size of the space/ground in view, and with strict observance of social distancing, mandatory wearing of face masks, provision for thermal scanning and hand wash or sanitizer.

-Green rooms should be kept uncluttered. All artists shall be encouraged to prepare at least part of their get up (costume, hair style, make-up etc.) at their residence to ensure that minimal support is required in green rooms.

-All artists and staff should be encouraged to carry food from home if possible, and to maintain physical distancing at eating points. Packaged food may be provided to crew and artists who require meals. Use of disposable cutlery and crockery is to be encouraged.

-Digital no-contact transactions shall be the preferred mode for issue or payments for tickets. All cultural institutions are encouraged to open purchase of tickets online for their events. Contact details of all customers should be taken at the time of booking of tickets, to facilitate contact tracing.

Other general SOPs include:

i. Adequate physical distancing of at least 6 feet to be followed at all times.

ii. Use of face covers/masks to be made mandatory at all times.

iii. Sanitization of venue before and after the event.

iv. Availability of hand sanitizers, preferably in the touch-free mode, at entry

and exit points as well as common areas within the premises.

v. Adequate dustbins must be provided at key points, with specially marked

dustbins for proper disposal of masks, gloves or other equipment,

especially those used by cleaning staff.

vi. Respiratory etiquettes to be strictly followed. This involves strict practice of

covering one’s mouth and nose while coughing/sneezing with a

tissue/handkerchief/flexed elbow and disposing off used tissues properly.

vii. Self-monitoring of health by all and reporting any illness at the earliest to

state and district helpline.

viii. Spitting shall be strictly prohibited.

ix. Installation & use of Aarogya Setu App shall be advised to all visitors

/staff/artists/crew and others having compatible mobile phones.

x. In case of a suspect or confirmed case in the premises :

a. Place the ill person in a room or area where they are isolated from

others.

b. Provide a mask/face cover till such time he/she is examined by a

doctor.

c. Immediately inform the nearest medical facility (hospital/clinic) or call

the state or district helpline.

d. A risk assessment will be undertaken by the designated public health

authority (district RRT/treating physician) and accordingly further action be

initiated regarding management of case, his/her contacts and need for

disinfection.

e. Thorough disinfection of the premises to be taken up if the person is found positive

-Such gatherings beyond the limit of 100 persons may be permitted, outside Containment Zones, by State/UT governments after 15th October,2020 only and subject to the following conditions:-

a. In closed spaces, a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity will be allowed, with a ceiling of 200 persons. Wearing of face masks, maintaining social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and use of hand wash or sanitizer will be mandatory.

b. In open spaces, keeping the size of the space/ground in view, and with strict observance of social distancing, mandatory wearing of face masks, provision for thermal scanning and hand wash or sanitizer.

-Green rooms should be kept uncluttered. All artists shall be encouraged to prepare at least part of their get up (costume, hair style, make-up etc.) at their residence to ensure that minimal support is required in green rooms.

All artists and staff should be encouraged to carry food from home if possible, and to maintain physical distancing at eating points. Packaged food may be provided to crew and artists who require meals. Use of disposable cutlery and crockery is to be encouraged.

-Digital no-contact transactions shall be the preferred mode for issue or payments for tickets. All cultural institutions are encouraged to open purchase of tickets online for their events. Contact details of all customers should be taken at the time of booking of tickets, to facilitate contact tracing.

Other general SOPs include:

i. Adequate physical distancing of at least 6 feet to be followed at all times.

ii. Use of face covers/masks to be made mandatory at all times.

iii. Sanitization of venue before and after the event.

iv. Availability of hand sanitizers, preferably in the touch-free mode, at entry

and exit points as well as common areas within the premises.

v. Adequate dustbins must be provided at key points, with specially marked

dustbins for proper disposal of masks, gloves or other equipment,

especially those used by cleaning staff.

vi. Respiratory etiquettes to be strictly followed. This involves strict practice of

covering one’s mouth and nose while coughing/sneezing with a

tissue/handkerchief/flexed elbow and disposing off used tissues properly.

vii. Self-monitoring of health by all and reporting any illness at the earliest to

state and district helpline.

viii. Spitting shall be strictly prohibited.

ix. Installation & use of Aarogya Setu App shall be advised to all visitors

/staff/artists/crew and others having compatible mobile phones.

x. In case of a suspect or confirmed case in the premises :

a. Place the ill person in a room or area where they are isolated from

others.

b. Provide a mask/face cover till such time he/she is examined by a

doctor.

c. Immediately inform the nearest medical facility (hospital/clinic) or call

the state or district helpline.

d. A risk assessment will be undertaken by the designated public health

authority (district RRT/treating physician) and accordingly further action be

initiated regarding management of case, his/her contacts and need for

disinfection.

e. Thorough disinfection of the premises to be taken up if the person is found positive

For latest and more details, .

State/UT governments will issue detailed SOPs, to regulate such gatherings and strictly enforce the same.