Kolkata: Keeping in mind the imminent threat of the third wave, the West Bengal government has decided not to take any risk and continue on with the Covid-induced restrictions till July 30, with some relaxations.
Though the state has not allowed trains to operate, it has opened up some more areas, allowing relaxations to people and providing more business opportunities.
In an order, the state government said: “All shops & markets (essential and non-essential commodities) may remain open as per usual operational hours. Retail shops in shopping malls and market complexes may remain open as per usual operational hours with 50 per cent workforce and restricted entry of people/customers up to 50 per cent at a time.”
It, however, said that the night curfew time – from 9 p.m. to 5 p.m. – will remain, thus making it clear that that all business establishments will have close by 9 p.m.
Banks, which were, so far, allowed to function till 2 p.m., have been allowed one more hour. Banks and financial institutions shall remain open for restricted hours between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for operations of ATMS, the order said.
The state also said that parks may remain open for morning walks, physical exercise etc during 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. but only vaccinated people shall be allowed. Gyms shall be allowed to remain open during 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. with 50 per cent capacity in each session, provided the employees/staff and customers have been vaccinated, and subject to regular sanitisation.
Salons and beauty parlours may remain open as per usual operational hours with 50 per cent of seating capacity at a time, provided the employees/staff and customers have been vaccinated, and subject to regular sanitisation.
The state ordered that all cinema halls, spas, and swimming pools shall continue to remain closed but the last may be opened exclusively for routine practice of state, national and international level swimmers from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Metro railway service shall operate 5 days a week with 50 per cent seating capacity and shall remain suspended on Saturdays and Sundays. Regular sanitisation of the metro, wearing of masks and appropriate Covid compliant discipline by passengers shall be ensured by the metro authorities and the local administration.
However, there has not been any major changes in the transport system. Though there was a huge demand for the opening up of local trains, the state government decided to keep them suspended for another 15 days. “Intra-state local train movement shall remain closed except for staff special trains for movement of emergency and essential services personnel,” the order said.
Movement of public transport including intra-state (inter-district) government and private buses, inland waterways transport, trams, local taxis, cabs and auto-rickshaws will be allowed with passengers not more than 50 per cent of seating capacity at a time, subject to vaccination of drivers and other staff, regular sanitisation of vehicle, and mandatory wearing of masks by all users.
All schools, colleges, universities, polytechnics and Anganwadi centres and other educational and academic institutions shall continue to remain closed, the order said. In addition, all political, social, cultural, academic and entertainment related gatherings, groupings and congregations shall continue to be prohibited.
Not more than 50 persons shall be allowed at a time in marriage ceremonies and related gatherings, and 20 at funeral rituals, the order stated.