Lockdown 5.0: Delhi-specific relaxations likely today after high-level meet
With the nation entering the fifth phase of the lockdown on June 1 (Monday), malls and less crowded places of worship in Delhi are likely to open from June 8. The Delhi government on Saturday, however, remained undecided on allowing restaurants and hotels to reopen for full-fledged business.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has called a meeting of top officials on Sunday to iron out Delhi’s lockdown rules for phase 5. Since activities allowed under “Unlock 1” plan of the Centre will come into effect only from June 8, the Delhi government is likely to state that “status quo” be maintained until then. This means that the current rules and relaxations may continue till June 8.
“The Central government has issued a basic framework for unlocking more services and utilities. The Centre has given the power to the states/union territories to enforce stricter rules, if needed, without diluting that framework. So, Delhi will issue a nuanced order for the city after detailed deliberations with officials. A call will be taken on Sunday on issues such as opening of malls on an alternate basis or fully, allowing dine-in service in restaurants, and opening of hotels, salons and spas, among others,” a Delhi government spokesperson said.
Earlier in the day, Kejriwal while addressing a digital press conference had said the city cannot remain under a permanent lockdown.
“We cannot engage in a permanent lockdown. No one can predict whether the coronavirus will go away if the timeline of the lockdown is increased by a month or more. We have to learn to live with the virus and we have to arrange for everything required to treat Covid-19 cases,” he said.
After the Centre’s order, a senior government official said the 122 containment zones in Delhi will get no relaxation till June 30.
But despite the Centre’s order, confusion prevailed over interstate movement of people, which has been a major pain point for thousands travelling between Delhi and neighbouring cities of Noida, Gurugram, Faridabad and Ghaziabad.
“The Centre in one clause said no pass/permission is required for interstate or intrastate movement. But the second clause says that a state can regulate movement of people to safeguard public health, which means states will still have the power to seal borders if they feel a need to continue doing so,” a senior revenue department official said.
The things/activities that will not start or open in the capital in the fifth phase are schools, colleges and other educational and training institutions. A state education department official said the government will hold more consultations with parents, teachers and other stakeholders with regard to opening of educational institutions -- a decision that will have to be taken by July, according to Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) guidelines.
The Delhi Metro too will remain shut for now, according to MHA guidelines. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) tweeted saying: “In light of the guidelines issued by the government, Metro services will remain closed for commuters until further notice.”
All public transport, expect the Metro, are operating with restrictions in the national capital. All offices, industries and standalone shops are allowed to open. All markets and shopping complexes are operating on an odd-even basis.