Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Thursday announced that the COVID-19 lockdown across the State was being extended till August 31 with fresh relaxations both for areas under Chennai City Police and in other parts of the State.
In a statement, Mr. Palaniswami said that complete lockdown would be imposed across the State with strict restrictions on all Sundays next month - August 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30.
As for areas under the Chennai City Police jurisdiction, the Chief Minister said groceries and provision stores which were earlier allowed to operate between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., would be allowed to operate till 7 p.m. Other shops allowed to operate earlier between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. too would be allowed to remain open till 7 p.m.
“E-commerce companies are allowed to ship both essential and non-essential goods,” the Chief Minister said. Restaurants and tea shops would be allowed to take in customers up to 50% of their seating capacity between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Restaurants could be allowed to offer parcel services between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., like before, the CM said.
Places of worship
With prior permission from the District Collectors concerned, small temples (with annual income less than ₹ 10,000), churches and mosques would be allowed for worship with compliance to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued in this regard earlier.
Mr. Palaniswami announced fresh relaxations in areas under the Chennai City Police jurisdiction from August 1. All commercial establishments, private companies and export units which are operating with 50% workforce would be allowed to do so with 75%, he said.
“Prominent places of worship and such places under Corporation limits would not be allowed (to open for worship),” he pointed out.
As for transport, present conditions would prevail for rail and air traffic. “The e-passes have to be obtained from District Collectors/Commissioner of Greater Chennai Corporation when moving between districts and into Tamil Nadu, like before,” he said.
The Independence Day celebrations on August 15 would be observed across Tamil Nadu as per the guidelines issued by the Centre and by strictly following physical distancing norms, wearing of face masks and other precautionary measures, he said.
Calling for cooperation from the general public, the Chief Minister said fresh relaxations would be allowed as and when required, based on the prevailing conditions. He said the decision to extend the lockdown till August 31 was based on the inputs from District Collectors, medical and public health experts and senior Ministers.