cinema, theatre halls in Unlock 8 Bhubaneswar, Dec 30 (PTI) Odisha government Wednesday totally prohibited zero night and New Years celebrations across the state in the wake of fears about the new strain of the coronavirus but allowed reopening of cinema halls, theatres and other entertainment facilities from January 1, 2021 as part of Unlock 8.

Any person found violating the order shall be punished under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and other relevant laws, Chief Secretary A K Tripathy said.

The state government in an order for January under Unlock 8, said Usually people in large numbers congregate in hotels, restaurants, clubs, parks and other public places on 31st December and 1st January for zero night celebration/ welcome New year/ similar function on the eve of new year.

Such congregations have large potential for spread of COVID-19 infection, the order said, adding that the state government has directed in public interest to prohibit such activities on December 31 and January 1, 2021.

The order said that cinema hall, theatres have been allowed to reopen with up to 50 per cent capacity and operate as per the standard operating procedure.

Open air theatres, jatra, entertainment parks will also be permitted by the local authorities to open subject to compliance of safety protocols such as mandatory wearing of masks and physical distancing.

Social, religious, sports and cultural functions and gatherings will be allowed with a ceiling of 200 people.

Marriage related gatherings shall be allowed with a ceiling of 200 people and funeral/last rites related gatherings with a ceiling of 100 people, it said.

The order said B2B and B2C exhibitions will be allowed in exhibition halls with participants and visitors up to 50 per cent of the hall capacity subject to a maximum ceiling of 200 persons and compliance of COVID-19 safety protocols.

International air travel of passengers, except as permitted by the ministry of home affairs will remain closed till January 31, 2021, it said.

The order clearly mentioned that all Anganwadi Centres will remain closed till January 31, 2021, the order authorised the school and mass education and higher education departments to take decision on reopening of schools and colleges after holding discussion with the stakeholders and keeping an eye on the pandemic situation.

It allowed conduct of examinations and activities other than holding regular classes.

The order said that local authority like the district magistrate and municipal commissioner may permit public worship in religious places and places of worship with appropriate restrictions, based on local assessment of the situation with regard to spread of COVID-19 and in due consultation with relevant stakeholders, with the observance of COVID-19 safety protocol.

Lockdown will remain in force within the containment zones, while wearing of face cover or mask properly is compulsory in public places like in workplaces and in public transport. Individuals must maintain a minimum distance of six feet in public places.