Kerala

State opening up cautiously

Liquor outlets in the State reopened on Thursday maintaining strict COVID-19 protocols following the relaxation after a 41-day lockdown. A scene from an outlet in Kochi.   | Photo Credit: H. VIBHU

The State on Thursday took its first baby steps towards normalcy after a draining second COVID-19 lockdown season that lasted 41 days.

The spectre of a third wave, driven by new and virulent strains of the mutating coronavirus, loomed large even as the State slowly opened up except for critical containment zones. A large swathe of the State fell in low spread (average test positivity rate [TPR] less than 8%) and moderate spread (TPR between 8% and 20%) zones.

The police scaled down their street presence and people moved relatively freely. Travellers did not have to carry the mandatory affidavit stating their purpose of journey.

On Friday, hairdressing salons and workshops would open for business.

The government has banned street food and indoor dining for now in all zones. However, hotels and restaurants could sell food as takeaways and home-delivered parcels.

A visible sign of life returning to the usual pattern was people queuing to buy liquor outside State-run outlets. The lines shortened as more bars opened to sell liquor as takeaways at 11 a.m.

Liquor sales

Security persons checked the body temperature of buyers before allowing them near the sales counter. The resumption of sale of liquor was a windfall for local auto drivers and lottery sellers laid low by the pandemic.

The government discouraged non-essential inter-district travel. The police insisted that those travelling across pandemic zones furnish affidavits stating their journeying purpose.

The police strictly enforced stay-at-home orders in local body jurisdictions that fell in the high spread zones (TPR between 20% and 30%). Critical containment zones (TPR above 30%) were under triple lockdown.

The State would shut down totally on the weekend.

A high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will review the pandemic regulations on June 23.


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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 12:06:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/state-opening-up-cautiously/article34843728.ece

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