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No major relief for Exhibitions & Events gatherings in the new MHA guidelines

By Abul Fazal,  Associate Editor – TFT

There has been no major change for the Exhibition Industry in the fresh guidelines  for the Live Events, & Exhibition Industry, issued by the Ministry of Health Affairs (GOI) to be implemented from 1st of February 2021.

As per the latest guidelines issued by the MHA, all activities have been permitted outside Containment Zones, the activities related to Public Gathering shall have strict adherence to the SOP’s that are to be issued by the ministry of Health Affairs, Government of India.

Social/religious/sports/entertainment/educational/cultural/religious gatherings which had been permitted on 15thOctober has not seen any changes and continue to permit to open with a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity, but with the same upper ceiling of 200 persons in closed spaces. 

However, the ceiling of outdoor events has been permitted keeping in view the size of the ground/space. The order says that such outdoor gatherings will be allowed subject to SOP of the State/UT concerned. This is worth noting that most of the UT’s and State Governments have not issued any SOP for the Exhibitions & Events gathering, the question at this point remains as to how will the State Government and UT’s will act on such public events to grant permission in want to the SOP’s. 

The new guidelines say that Business to Business (B2B) Exhibition halls have already been permitted to open. The order further says “Now all types of Exhibition halls will be permitted to open, for which a revised SOP will be issued by the Department of Commerce in consultation with MHA”. This means there is yet no clarity on the confirmed guidelines on the Exhibitions.

The Order also does not mention any specific date for issuance of the fresh SOP’s for the opening of the Exhibitions. 

These ​fresh ​SOPs (which are yet to be defined for Exhibitions) shall be strictly enforced by the concerned authorities, who shall be responsible for strict observance of implementation.