New guidelines have been released for yoga institutes and gyms across the country that are allowed to reopen from Wednesday as part of the center’s “Unlock 3” plan amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The guidelines seek to minimize physical contact between staff and visitors at yoga centers and gyms as COVID-19 is known to spread via respiratory droplets and surface contact.

Yoga institutes and gyms in containment zones, however, will remain shut. Only those outside containment zones are allowed to open. Spas, sauna, steam bath, and swimming pools are other facilities that are still not allowed to be reopened.

Some of the key points in the new guidelines are:

  1. Those above 65 years, people with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below 10 have been asked not to use gyms in closed spaces.
  2. Face cover or mask is mandatory at all times on the premises. But during exercising, only a visor may be used as a mask may make breathing difficult.
  3. It is recommended to use the COVID-19 tracker app Aarogya Setu.
  4. The yoga or gym floor should have a space of four meters per person. Equipment should be kept six feet apart, and wherever possible, they should be moved outdoors.
  5. Create specific pathways for entering and exiting the building with proper direction markings on the walls.
  6. For air-conditioning and ventilation, the temperature setting should be in the range of 24-30 degrees Celsius with an intake of fresh air as much as possible.
  7. Sessions should be staggered with a minimum gap of 15-30 minutes between classes to avoid overlap between members arriving and leaving.
  8. Restricting the number of people per group in a fitness class should be based on the size of the room and the nature of the activity.

The Health Ministry’s guidelines say the gates to the buildings should have sanitizer dispensers and thermal screening devices. Only asymptomatic people including staff are allowed to enter.

If a person is suspected to be infected, the person should be kept in a room or area where they are isolated from others. The staff should immediately inform the nearest medical facility or call the state or district helpline, the Health Ministry said.

Coronavirus cases in India crossed the 18-lakh mark today, a day after it went past 17 lakh, with 52,972 cases reported in a day, government data shows. With 771 deaths in the last 24 hours, the number of fatalities has climbed to 38,135, the government has said.

Several leaders including Home Minister Amit Shah and Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa have tested positive for the virus, which has led to the death of a minister in the Uttar Pradesh government.

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