In Bengal, malls, eateries and offices to reopen outside ‘affected area’ from June 1
The West Bengal government on Saturday decided to extend the lockdown till June 15 only in the “affected areas” within containment zones, allowing greater relaxation in all other areas, hours after the Union Home Ministry extended the nationwide lockdown till June 30 and issued guidelines for this duration.
Among the relaxations are allowing shopping malls and restaurants to open and allowing the entertainment industry to start shooting from June 1. All offices and industrial activities can take place with 100% workforce beyond the “containment areas”.
The Mamata Banerjee-led government had earlier divided the containment zones in three areas – A is the affected area, B is the buffer zone and C is the clean area. From June 1, the lockdown will be enforced only in containment zone ‘A’, while containment zones ‘B’ and ‘C’ will have similar relaxations. The basis of such area division within containment zones has been polling booths in order to reduce the size of the area under lockdown.
“It is necessary to continue to implement the lockdown in the affected areas (containment zones) to contain the spread of Covid-19 and simultaneously open up activities in other areas for socio economic revival,” the government notification issued by the chief secretary on May 30 said.
The order said that strict lockdown will be imposed in the ‘affected area’ with no relaxations. Relaxations will be allowed in containment zones B and C from June 1, 2020 with 100% capacity in tea gardens, jute mills, micro, small, medium and large industries, and construction work.
Intra-state movement of government and private buses has been allowed with passengers not more than the seating capacity of the bus. No passengers will be allowed to travel standing and all passengers must wear masks and gloves.
While the union ministry of home affairs has allowed opening of religious places from June 8, Bengal has allowed it from June 1 with not more than 10 people gathering at a time.
Indoor and outdoor activities related to TV and cinema production, except for reality shows, including those for web-portal and OTT platforms, have been allowed with not more than 35 people per unit at a time from June 1. Restaurants and shopping malls will be allowed to open from June 1.
Government offices will function with 70% of the workforce on rotational basis. While the government said it encouraged private offices to adopt work from home, the number of staff in offices will be decided by the companies themselves.
“Norms of social distancing and health hygiene protocol must be strictly followed.
Management committees, trustee boards, governing bodies, and owners and private institutions, organisations and establishments shall be responsible for compliance of the states norms and guidelines,” the notification said.
The notification also said that any violation in compliance of norms of social distancing, health protocol and wearing of masks may lead to withdrawal of relaxation provided and may also attract penal action.