Fewer concessions in 11 western and delta districts
Extending the COVID-19 lockdown till 6 a.m. on June 21, the Tamil Nadu government on Friday announced further easing of restrictions in 27 districts, including Chennai. Fewer concessions will be offered in 11 districts, predominantly in the western and delta regions, where the number of cases is higher.
Besides the existing permitted activities — except in Coimbatore, The Nilgiris, Tiruppur, Erode, Salem, Karur, Namakkal, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam and Mayiladuthurai — salons, optical shops, home appliance service centres and sale and service of mobile phones have been allowed during specified timings from June 14. Tasmac liquor outlets will remain open between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
In a statement, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin said the decision followed a district-wise analysis of the situation. In 27 districts, IT/ITES companies can work with 20% of their staff members or a maximum of 10 persons attending office. Schools, colleges and universities can undertake administrative and admission works. Salons, spas and beauty parlours will be allowed to open between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m., but only with 50% customers at a time.
The sale and service of mixies, grinders and television sets will be allowed between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Optical shops and service centres and the sale and service of mobile phones will be allowed between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The production and sale of earthenware and handicrafts will be allowed between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. Service centres for agriculture equipment and plumbing works (not sales centres) will be allowed between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Parks and sports stadiums managed by government agencies and local bodies will be allowed to open between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., but only for walkers.
Shops dealing in construction material can function between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Companies involved in exports and those supplying inputs to such companies will be allowed to operate with 50% of workers in compliance with the Standard Operating Procedures. Only 33% of the staff will be allowed in other industries.
“Workers of industries will be allowed to commute to work even on two-wheelers but with e-registration and identity cards. Earlier, they were allowed only on four-wheelers,” the statement said. Only 33% of the workers will be allowed on the office premises of housing finance, non-banking finance and insurance companies.
In the 11 districts in the western and delta regions where the spread of COVID-19 is higher, in addition to the existing activities permitted, housekeeping at offices, houses and flats and private security agencies will be allowed with e-registration. Between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., electricians, plumbers, motor technicians and carpenters can visit their customers for services with e-registration. “However, they cannot open their shops.”
Rental vehicles, taxis and autorickshaws will be allowed only with e-registration. Taxis and autorickshaws will be allowed with three and two passengers respectively, excluding the driver. Two-wheeler service centres (not sales), service centres for agriculture and plumbing and optical shops will be allowed between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Companies involved in exports and allied industries can operate with 25% of their workers in compliance with the Standard Operating Procedure. The production and sales of earthenware and handicraft shops will be allowed between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Shops must ensure that customers are provided with hand sanitiser and subjected to thermal screening. They should also ensure that employees and customers wear masks, Mr. Stalin said.
Air-conditioning facilities should not be allowed in shops, which must also ensure physical distancing. Markings are to be made to help customers stand in queues and follow physical distancing norms.
Mr. Stalin reiterated his appeal to the public for cooperation.
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