Goa CM bats for lockdown extension; wants malls, gyms to open

Panaji: Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Friday said the current phase of lockdown, slated to end on May 31, should be extended till June 15 considering the overall COVID-19 scenario in the country, where the case count has crossed the 1.6 lakh-mark.

Sawant, who spoke to Union Home Minister Amit Shah over the phone on Thursday, said during the conversation he suggested lockdown extension for another 15 days, but sought relaxations for Goa during the period.

The chief minister said Goa will pitch for relaxations like allowing reopening of malls, restaurants and gyms in the state during the lockdown period.

He said all these sectors (gym, mall and restaurant) can open with 50 per cent of their staff capacity and by strictly adhering to social distancing norms and other protocols related to curbing the coronavirus spread.

Sawant said the state government is waiting for fresh lockdown guidelines from the Union home ministry, which are expected to be announced on Saturday.

Only after understanding those guidelines, we will come to know whether Goa is allowed to give certain relaxations, he said.

Sawant said Goa will be the most preferred holiday destination in India in the post-COVID-19 era.

Compared to rest of the tourist places in the country, Goa will be the more preferred destination for domestic and international travellers, he said.

Meanwhile, the chief minister on Friday laid the foundation stone for a 1,300-seat capacity convention centre in the state capital.

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