Quarantine Curfew lifted with new guidelines


The Government, while lifting the Quarantine Curfew imposed islandwide on August 20, from today has issued new guidelines to be followed till October 31.

The set of guidelines under the first phase will be in effect from October 1 to 15 while the set of guidelines under the second phase will come into effect from October 16 to 31, depending on Covid control.

As per the new guidelines, inter-provincial travel restrictions will continue with exemptions for essential activities and services while all non-essential travel is not permitted from 10 p.m. to 4 am daily. Police roadblocks will check road users during this period.

Safer transport methods should be used and provided while improving the availability of transport facilities that are less crowded. Inter-Provincial trains will not function. Buses will also operate within the respective provinces only and there should be only seated passengers in public transport. Public and shared transport should preferably be non-air-conditioned and windows should be opened.

All passengers should wear a mask properly during travel. All work settings should reduce the number of employees coming to work at a given time and where possible adopt the Work From Home (WFH) system. Essential services and industries are exempted and others should function with the minimum required numbers of employees, as decided by the Head of the institute.

Only a 25 per cent capacity will be allowed at office meetings, workshops and conferences (with a cap of 25 persons from Oct 1 to 15 and 50 from 16-31) while online meetings should be encouraged at all times.

No permission has been granted for functions, parties, indoor or outdoor gatherings. Exhibitions too cannot be held. However, wedding registrations can take place with 10 people from October 1-15 while 50 people will be able to attend outdoor wedding receptions from October 16-31.

Permission has been granted for wholesale trading at the Dedicated Economic Centres (DECs). The DECs can function under the supervision of divisional committees and Medical Officers of Health (MOH).

Dining at restaurants has been prohibited between October 1 to 15, while a 30 per cent seating capacity will be allowed from October 16 to 31, with the maximum number of customers not exceeding 50 at any given time, regardless of the actual capacity of the restaurant.

Outdoor dining is encouraged and consuming alcohol within the premises will be prohibited. Salons can function based on appointments. Steps will be taken to reopen schools gradually. Schools with less than 200 students will be the first to reopen based on a decision reached by the Ministry of Education in consultation with health authorities.

Daycare centres can reopen while pre-schools can function with 50 per cent of students in attendance. Universities and higher education institutions can also resume operations adhering to ‘new normal’ health guidelines.

However, the number of students in attendance must be reduced and activities must be carried out jointly online. Permission has not been granted for tuition classes to resume. Exams can be held in accordance with health guidelines.

Cinemas will also remain closed. Gymnasiums can accommodate only five patrons at a time. Permission has not been granted for sporting activities till October 15. Jogging tracks and beach tracks will be open, but distance must be maintained.

Shops and supermarkets can only have 10 percent of the actual capacity of customers from Oct 1-15 while from 16-31, this can increase to 20 per cent. Banks can have only five customers at a time.

Construction, industry and agriculture activities can go ahead. Courts can also function according to the instructions of the Judicial Services Commission and the health authorities.Funerals (non-Covid) should take place within 24 hours of the body being released and only 10 persons could be present at any given time.

Places of worship will not be open for congregational activity but there is no barrier to individual worship. These guidelines will be subject to change at any time depending on the Covid spread and will be reviewed by October end. The Public are advised to strictly abide by health guidelines.