Several state governments announced relaxations on Sunday, a day after the Centre launched the “Unlock 1” phase of the lockdown imposed since March 25 to control the spread of the novel coronavirus. While most states eased restrictions, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Bihar also formally extended the lockdown till June 30.
The Tamil Nadu government announced significant relaxations, including resumption of limited public transport in the state, The News Minute reported. This came a day after the Centre relaxed the lockdown rules to allow malls, restaurants, and religious places to function in all areas except containment zones from June 8.
Tamil Nadu is among the states worst-affected by the outbreak. It recorded the biggest single-day jump of 938 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, taking the total count to 21,184.
What is prohibited across the state:
- People from other districts have been banned from visiting the Nilgiris, Kodaikanal and Yercaud for tourism purposes.
- Hotels, resorts, hospitality services are not permitted to function.
- Shopping malls, educational institutions, research labs cannot open.
- International flight service will stay cancelled, metro, MRTS [Mass Rapid Transit System] train services cannot operate.
- Theatres, gyms, swimming pools, clubs, bars, beaches, tourist places, zoos, museums, and other places where mass gatherings may occur are not allowed.
- Gatherings for political, sports, entertainment, functions, religious, education and festival events will remain cancelled.
- The restriction on the gathering for marriage and death continues, with up to 50 people allowed for the wedding ceremony and upto 20 people allowed at funerals.
What is permitted?
- All showrooms and big shops have been allowed to open in the state, except in containment zones.
- All e-commerce activities including non-essential items will be allowed outside Chennai.
- Restaurants can open, but without air conditioning. At a time, 50% of the seating arrangement can be used.
- Grocery and provisions can function from 6 am to 8 pm. Tea shops and other small food outlets can provide takeaways till June 7. Tea shops can function with 50% of the customers from June 8.
- Taxis and autorickshaws would be allowed to ply with a limit of three and two passengers respectively from June 1 without an e-pass.
- Salons and beauty parlours have been allowed to operate without air-conditioning facilities and in line with the Standard Operating Procedures to be issued by the government separately.
- IT and private institutions will be allowed to function with 100% workforce, except in Chennai. “However, work from home option is to be encouraged for 20% staff,” Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said.
Relaxations in Chennai:
- All private companies would be allowed to function with 50% staff.
- All showrooms and shops, except shopping malls, have been allowed to function with 50% of the employees. Only five customers maintaining physical distancing should be permitted in the shops. However, air conditioning should not be used.
- IT and ITES sector could operate with certain restrictions.
Maharashtra, the state worst affected by the pandemic, announce meagre relaxations, under the banner “Mission Begin Again”. The state decided to ease the lockdown in three phases.
In Phase 1, starting June 3, following activities have been allowed outside of containment zones:
- Outdoor physical activities like walking, running, jogging, cycling will be allowed in public and private parks, playgrounds, beaches, promenades and society grounds, between 5 am and 7 pm. However, no indoor stadiums can be used for the purpose, and group activity is not permitted.
- Activities related to self-employed people like plumbers, electricians, pest-control and technicians, following physical distancing norms, and use of masks and proper sanitation.
- Garages to mend vehicles and workshops can operate with appointments.
- All government offices can function with 15% employees or 15 staff, whichever is higher.
Phase 2, starting June 5:
- All markets, market areas and shops, except malls, will be allowed to function on an odd-even basis, from 9 am to 5 pm. However, the use of trial rooms and exchange and return policy for goods is prohibited.
- Long distance travel for availing non-essential services shall not be permitted.
- Taxis, cab aggregators and autorickshaws can ferry passengers for essential purposes, with two passengers besides the driver. Two wheeler vehicles can operate with only the driver.
Phase 3, starting June 8:
- All private offices can operate with up to 10% strength as per requirement, with remaining persons working from home.
However, hotels, malls, restaurants, pubs, cinema halls, local trains and schools and colleges will continue to remain shut. Inter-district travel will not be permitted. All barber shops, salons, religious places will also stay closed.
Telangana said that though the lockdown will remain in place till June 30, relaxations permitted by the Centre will be implemented in the state. The state government permitted plying of interstate transport vehicles as well as travel, the Hindustan Times reported.
“It was decided to implement the relaxations given to the guidelines by the Centre in all the areas except in the containment zones,” the official press release said. “The chief minister instructed the officials concerned to implement strictly the lockdown in the containment zones.” The government also said that no shops and establishments will be allowed to stay open after 8 pm, except hospitals and pharmacies.
The Andhra Pradesh government appointed seven official committees to prepare a blueprint to lift the lockdown in the state. These committees will comprise special chief secretaries, secretaries, commissioners and directors of the departments concerned.
The Karnataka government allowed inter-state and intra-state movement of goods and people, PTI reported. “There shall be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods,” the official order said. “No separate permission/approval/e-permit will be required for such movements.”
The government also decided to allow reopening of religious places and places of worship for public, hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services and shopping malls from June 8. The order said district and municipal authorities have to identify buffer zones outside the containment zones.
The Rajasthan government said that all government and private offices can resume work at full strength from June 1, PTI reported. The state government also allowed private and commercial transport vehicles to carry passengers up to their full capacity.
The Ashok Gehlot government also permitted the interstate and intrastate operation of buses outside containment zones. However, city buses are still prohibited from operations. The guidelines said there would be no restriction on interstate and intrastate movement of persons and goods and no separate pass, permission, approval or permit required for it.
The Vijay Rupani-led government in Gujarat not only permitted intrastate transport by buses, but also got rid of the odd-even rule for shops and establishments, with the only condition that shopkeepers wear face masks and follow physical distancing guidelines. “In this new unlocking effort, we have to continue to work with coronavirus without any economic blockade so that no work is hampered,” Chief Minister Rupani said.
The government allowed city and state transport buses to operate at 50% and 60% capacity. “We had earlier allowed one person on a two-wheeler,” Rupani said. “We now allow two persons in case they happen to be family members, with mandatory masks.” The government also allowed restaurants, hotels, religious places and shopping malls to reopen from June 8.
Gujarat is the fourth-most affected state in the country, after Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Delhi.
Jammu and Kashmir
The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Sunday extended the present lockdown restrictions till June 8, without any relaxations, the Hindustan Times reported.
“Lockdown 4.0 is pretty much relaxed,” an unidentified official said. “So, it has been extended. However, shopping malls, multiplexes, restaurants, schools, colleges and gymnasiums will remain closed.” Barber shops, salons, parlours have been allowed to open in all areas, except within the limits of municipal corporations in orange zones.