The Centre on Wednesday relaxed the seating capacity at cinema halls and theatres to more than 50% occupancy. The new standard operating procedures in this regard, effective from February 1, will be issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the home ministry said in a fresh set of Covid-19 related guidelines, issued on Wednesday. Cinema halls were allowed to reopen in October last year, at half their capacity.

Use of swimming pools, which was earlier allowed only for sportspersons, will be made open for all from February 1, the guidelines mentioned.

As for social and religious gatherings, as well as sporting and entertainment events in open spaces, it will be up to the respective state and Union Territory governments to decide upon the standard operating procedures, the home ministry said. For these events in closed spaces, halls have been allowed 50% seating capacity, with a maximum occupancy of 200 people.

The guidelines also mentioned that a decision on further opening up of international air travel may be decided upon, following consultation with the civil aviation ministry. The latest guidelines, which will stay in effect till February 28, were taken in view of the decline in daily cases of coronavirus in the country, the home ministry said.

India on Wednesday reported 12,689 new coronavirus cases, taking the overall count to 1,06,89,527. The country’s toll rose by 137 to 1,53,724. The national Capital Delhi reported less than 100 cases for the first time in nearly nine months on Wednesday, as the tally went up by only 96.

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