As daily coronavirus cases continue to decline, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chandigarh on Tuesday eased restrictions imposed to contain the spread of the infection.
In Uttar Pradesh, restaurants and malls will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity from June 21, reported NDTV. The government has also revised the night curfew timing to 9 pm to 7 am. Earlier it was from 7 pm to 7 am.
Food kiosks and parks have been allowed to open too. But, they been asked to install a Covid-19 help desk. The state government said that a detailed guideline will be issued soon.
The relaxations were announced after Chief Minister Adityanath held a Covid-19 review meeting, reported the Hindustan Times.
The decision came after the state witnessed a decline in coronavirus cases. There are 8,111 active cases in the state. On Monday, Uttar Pradesh recorded 339 fresh cases of Covid-19 and 72 deaths. With this, the infection tally climbed to 17,02,937 since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. The toll rose to 21,858.
The state government has been relaxing the restrictions gradually after imposing them on April 30 amid a surge in infections.
Last week, Uttar Pradesh had announced relaxations in the Covid-19 curfew as all the 75 districts had active cases below the 600-mark.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced relaxations in the Covid-19 curbs, allowing restaurants, cinema halls and gymnasiums to open and function with 50% capacity from Wednesday, reported NDTV. The chief minister also raised the limit on the number of guests allowed at weddings and cremations to 50.
However, the government has not allowed bars and clubs to open yet. The night curfew enforced between 8 pm and 5 am, along with the weekend curfew from 8 pm on Saturday till 5 am on Monday, will continue.
An official spokesperson said that healthcare services, shops selling essential commodities and industrial materials, agricultural activities, construction, petrol pumps and banking services will be exempted from the curfew restrictions.
The state government has also asked district authorities to decide when shops selling non-essential items can operate based on the coronavirus situation in the area.
The decision to ease curbs came after the positivity rate in the state fell below 2%. Punjab Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan cited a Cambridge Judge Business School report on the growth of Covid-19 infection to say that all districts in the state are witnessing a downward trajectory in new cases.
On Monday, the state recorded 622 new Covid-19 cases, pushing the infection tally in the state to 5,88,525, according to Union health ministry data. The toll climbed by 40 to 15,602.
The Jharkhand government extended the lockdown-like restrictions in the state till June 24 but allowed some relaxations, reported PTI.
The government has allowed shopping malls and departmental stores to open till 4 pm, an official said. Earlier, only shops were allowed till 4 pm but not malls and departmental stores.
In a statement, the government said that inter-state and intra-state bus transport will be closed, excluding buses specifically used by the district administration. E-passes will be mandatory for inter-state and inter-district movement in private vehicles. However, no such pass will be needed for movement within the district.
The restrictions, first imposed on April 22, have been extended six times.
The government also said that religious places and educational institutions will remain closed. It allowed the opening of all government and private offices till 4 pm with one-third capacity.
Home delivery of food along with takeaway has been allowed, the government said in its order. Cinema halls, clubs, bars, banquet halls, multiplexes, stadiums, gymnasiums, swimming pools and parks will remain shut.
The government said anganwadi centres will remain closed but food items will be provided to the beneficiaries at home. “There will be a ban on the gathering of more than five persons,” the order said. “A maximum of 11 persons can attend a marriage and a maximum of 20 persons can attend a funeral.”
On Tuesday, the state reported 151 new coronavirus cases, taking the infection tally to 3,43,609 since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. The state now has 3,062 active cases.
The Chandigarh administration also eased Covid-19 restrictions to allow all shops to remain open from 10 am till 7 pm, reported PTI.
The administration said in a statement that the shop owners will have to ensure that the Covid-19 protocol is properly followed.
The city also postponed the starting time of the night curfew from 10 pm to 10.30 pm and it will remain in force till 5 am. The administration allowed restaurants to remain open with 50% capacity between 10 am to 10 pm.
On Monday, Chandigarh registered 50 coronavirus cases, taking the tally to 61,160. As two more people died, the toll rose to 794.