The Election Commission on Sunday relaxed restrictions on political rallies and indoor and outdoor meetings in the five poll-bound states.

The panel has stipulated a 50% capacity limit for rallies or meetings in indoor places, and a 30% capacity limit in outdoor places, “or as fixed by DEO [district election officer] as per requirement of the social distancing norms and whichever is less”.

On January 31, the Election Commission had allowed physical rallies with up to 1,000 people, and indoor meetings with up to 500 people.

The commission has also stated on Sunday that the ban on roadshows, processions and vehicle rallies will continue. It has not specified till when the restriction will remain in force.

Up to 20 people can take part in door-to-door campaigning, as has been the case since January 31. A ban on campaigning from 8 pm to 8 am will also continue to be in place.

Rallies at open grounds can only be held in places specifically designated by district authorities, and such events will be subject to compliance of all the conditions of the State Disaster Management Authority.

The organisers of the rallies need to set up seating arrangements to ensure adequate physical distancing, and the use of masks has been made mandatory at all times.

The commission has stated that all entrances to rallies must have provisions for hand hygiene and thermal screening. “Adequate number of hand sanitisers should be kept at entrance as well as within the rally area,” the guidelines stated.

Assembly elections in Goa, Punjab, Manipur, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh will be held in seven phases between February 10 and March 7. The results will be announced on March 10.

On January 8, while announcing the poll schedule, the Election Commission had banned all physical rallies, roadshows, processions and vehicle rallies till January 15.

The poll body on January 15 had extended the ban until January 31 because of the ongoing third wave of Covid-19, and then further extended it till February 11.

India on Sunday registered 1,07,474 coronavirus cases, taking the overall infection count to 4,21,88,138 since the pandemic began in January 2020. Currently, there are 12,25,011 active cases in the country.