Kerala

Cautious easing of lockdown curbs in Kerala

The government permitted legal alcohol as a takeaway from liquor stores and bars between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Indoor drinking and dining in bars and hotels were prohibited. | File  

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday announced the commencement of a cautious and gradual winding down of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions from June 17.

The extend of relaxations would hinge on the test positivity rate (TPR) in the ward, panchayat, municipality or corporation concerned. Lockdown restrictions would be total in containment zones. Triple lockdown would automatically come into force in localities with a weekly average TPR of 30% and above.

Mr. Vijayan said the State would shut down entirely on the weekend. The administration would review lockdown restrictions every week on Wednesday.

The decision signalled a welcome respite from an unexpectedly long lockdown season that began on May 8 to turn the tide of the virulent second coronavirus wave.

Mr. Vijayan did not discount the possibility of a third wave catalysed by more contagious versions of the fast mutating virus. The key to defeating the pandemic was to show no complacency in observing COVID-19 regulations, he reminded.

Liquor sale to resume

The government permitted legal alcohol as a takeaway from liquor stores and bars between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Indoor drinking and dining in bars and hotels were prohibited. The government would use a mobile phone-based booking system to assign time slots for liquor buyers. There would be no sale of liquor in containment localities or on the weekend.

Schools, colleges, temples, mosques, churches and places of worship would remain shuttered. So would shopping malls, cinema theatres, indoor stadiums, gymnasiums and beauty parlours.

Outdoor sports, only games with reduced scope for close physical interaction, were allowed. Walking circuits, parks, and weekend destinations would remain shut.

The ban on inter-district travel would continue. The government lifted the restrictions on retail trade in localities where the weekly average TPR hovered below 8%. Shops could remain open between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays.

Only shops selling essentials would be allowed to open for business in localities where the weekly average TPR was above 8% but below 20%.

Other shops and banks could open on alternate days on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. In such regions, government and private offices could function with half the workforce reporting for duty on alternate days.

Transport buses, autorickshaws, and taxi cabs could operate minimal services. Not more than 20 persons should attend weddings, funerals or other social functions. The tourism sector would remain closed.


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Printable version | Aug 2, 2021 3:00:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/cautious-easing-of-lockdown-curbs-in-state/article34823995.ece

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