States’ response to lifting curbs varied
As the country on Monday entered the “lockdown-4 phase”, State Governments largely reactivated economic activities, including markets, saloons, private taxis, autos, even inter-State movement of passenger buses and vehicles. But malls, metro rails, domestic and international flights, colleges, schools, religious political gathering remained in the prohibited list.
Different States have given leeway to economic activities in the green and orange zones and narrowed down their enforcement of lockdown guidelines to only containment zones. Some States, like Karnataka and West Bengal, have permitted opening of salons and barber’s shops where close contacts with the customers is possible. In contrast Delhi has not allowed barber shops, spas and salons to open yet.
Telangana too has allowed salons to open and permitted bus services within the State.
Walmart-owned Flipkart said it is awaiting advisories from different States for resuming full services, including in red zones, a day after Home Ministry’s guidelines on lockdown 4.0 were released.
Parks and sports complexes will be open with the norms of “social distancing” but stepping out of homes between 7 pm and 7 am, except for essential services will be prohibited. Taxis and cabs will be allowed but only 2 passengers at a time in a car. The Government and private offices too were allowed to work with restricted staff.
Centre has allowed States for inter-State passenger bus and vehicle bus services with the mutual consent. The move will greatly ease public transportation and is likely to come to immediate help mitigate the plight of migrant labour on the roads due to the nation-wide lockdown entering 54th day.
The night curfew, between 7 pm and 7 am, will continue in all zones. Hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services, except for the running of canteens in bus depots, railway stations and airports, will not be allowed.
Maharashtra, the worst affected State in the country and particularly its Capital Mumbai with nearly 20 per cent of coronavirus cases in the country, will not experience relaxations in major part of the city. Saying Mumbai is still a Covid-19 red zone, authorities have not eased restrictions and warned people about strong action against violators in the fourth phase of the nationwide lockdown.
Taking a rather relaxed view of coronavirus situation, Karnataka has allowed major concessions for re-starting economic activities. Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, however, said people from four States — Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Kerala — will not be allowed entry into the State till May 31.
The Karnataka Government announced that all four State transport corporation buses will be allowed to operate in the State, except in red and containment zones, from Tuesday. Only 30 people would be allowed to travel in the buses and wearing of face masks and maintaining physical distancing are mandatory, he said. Bus fares would not be increased, he added.
Karnataka CM said complete lockdown will be imposed across the State on all Sundays till May 31, adding that parks will be opened from Tuesday and night curfew will continue across the State from 7 pm to 7 am.
But inter-State transport would not be allowed, except in emergency cases. Trains can operate within the State but not inter-State services till May 31.
Yediyurappa said all shops, except those in containment zones, will be allowed to open and passenger trains will run within the State.
Auto and taxis were also given green signal to get on to roads, but there should be only three passengers, including the driver. In maxi-cabs, the maximum number should be four passengers, including driver.
Except shopping malls and cinema halls, saloons and all shops can open, he said.
In West Bengal private offices, including those in shopping malls, can operate with 50 per cent strength on alternate days. According to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, saloons and beauty parlours can function but equipment have to be disinfected regularly, she said.
Hotels can be opened in Bengal but with strict social distancing in place. Inter-district buses will be allowed. Sport is permitted but no gathering of spectators can take place, she said.
“We are not declaring curfew, but the lockdown will continue till May 31. We don’t like the word curfew particularly,” she said.
All big shops will open from May 21, she said, and the hawkers’ market will open from May 27 every alternate day.
Gujarat will make guidelines according to containment zone and non-containment zone and Tuesday District Collectors, Municipal commissioners will make a list of these zones, according to Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. Gujarat, despite rise in coronavirus case, had in PM-Chief Minister conference had opposed extension of Lockdown beyond May 17.
The nationwide lockdown was first imposed for 21 days starting March 25 and then extended on April 15 and later on May 4 with an aim to contain the spread of novel coronavirus pandemic in the country.
Tuesday, 19 May 2020 | PNS | New Delhi:
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