Kerala

Curbs put a damper on Iftar parties, Vishu get-togethers

Disregarding the pandemic protocol, people crowd the Stadium Corner in Kannur on Tuesday for shopping on the eve of Vishu. S.K. Mohan   | Photo Credit: MOHAN SK;SK Mohan

Finding affordable public transport seemed to have plagued the Vishu and Ramzan shoppers as COVID-19 regulations on public life kicked in on Tuesday.

With the government insisting that stage carriages not admit passengers more than the legal seating capacity, a large fleet of buses remained off the road. A private bus operator said high diesel prices and a low number of passengers had made operations untenable. The restriction on allowing passengers to travel standing on buses had hurt operators financially. The scarcity of buses had caused shoppers to hire autorickshaws, often at higher than the legally permissible fare.

The reintroduction of nominal pandemic control measures did not douse the spirit of the festival season. However, it appeared to burn a hole in the pockets of many.

The new set of regulations issued by the State government to flatten the rising curve of COVID-19 infections put a damper on Iftar parties and Vishu get-togethers.

The government had limited public events to two hours. The police fanned out across the State and proactively imposed the mask mandate and ensured social distancing in public spaces. However, the law enforcement did not slap any fines and limited themselves to counselling travellers.

Hotels put on notice

Municipal authorities issued notices to hotels requesting them to limit indoor dining to less than half the seating capacity. Customers should sit socially distanced and restaurants down shutters at 9 p.m. The new time constraint seemed not to apply to bars, which closed as usual at 11 p.m.

Open-air and indoor gatherings should not number more than 200 and 100 attendees respectively. The government has warned against communal feasting and suggested that organisers supply guests with parcel meals instead. Supermarkets should not hold retail events that tend to attract large crowds.

"Hotels and restaurants should promote takeaways and home delivery, instead of in-house dining as people tend to crowd in such public dining settings and remove their masks. Religious leaders and district authorities may be persuaded to avoid community gatherings when customary fasting is broken during evenings in the month of Ramzan," an order said.

"Crowding must be controlled effectively and meetings shall be held online as far as possible... e-Sanjeevani of the Health Department should be popularised so that crowding in OP wards is avoided," the order said.

The government has insisted that participants in group events must produce RT-PCR and RT-LAMP reports of tests conducted within the last 72 hours.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 4:46:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/curbs-put-a-damper-on-iftar-parties-vishu-get-togethers/article34313770.ece

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