While Tamil Nadu will witness a complete lockdown on Sunday, with the closure of all shops and the suspension of all services barring medical services and milk supply, Chennai will see a partial relaxation of curbs from Monday.
The ongoing total lockdown in Madurai city and its surrounding areas will be extended till July 12. The rules governing the functioning of industries have been eased, and the relaxations will come into effect from Monday.
Last week, the government had said that once the complete lockdown ends in the Greater Chennai Police limits (on July 5), the relaxations that were in place before June 19 would kick in outside COVID-19 containment areas. However, on Saturday, in a partial modification of the announcement, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami said that restaurants and tea shops would be allowed to offer only parcel and delivery services in the State capital, until further orders. Dine-in services will not be allowed. Restaurants would be allowed to operate from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and delivery agents must carry the identity cards issued by their respective organisations. Tea stalls would be allowed to function from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., just like vegetable and provision shops.
Non-air-conditioned hair salons, spas and beauty parlours will be allowed to function, subject to adherence to standard operating procedures. Fish and meat stalls can also function by ensuring physical distancing.
In Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu, small temples with an annual income of less than ₹10,000 and small mosques, dargahs and churches will be allowed to reopen. Tasmac liquor outlets in these three districts can function from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tea shops, restaurants and vegetable and provision shops will be allowed to function from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The government said that while an e-pass was necessary for workers who travel between districts, it was not needed for intra-district movement. Companies could use the passes issued by the District Collectors before June 19. No new passes were required, it said.
While the government had earlier said that the complete lockdown in Madurai will end on July 5, it has now extended the shutdown by a week.
Mr. Palaniswami said the total lockdown will remain in place in the Madurai Municipal Corporation areas, Paravi panchayat, Madurai East, Madurai West and the village panchayats in the Tirupparankundram panchayat union.
“Though the infection rate has come down in these areas, the total lockdown has been extended under the Disaster Management Act to bring the disease under total control,” he said.
The essential services already allowed will continue to be permitted during the extended lockdown period, he added.
The Chief Minister said no activities will be allowed in containment zones, and monitoring work will be stepped up during the lockdown.
“The local bodies will ensure the provision of essential supplies to isolation houses and containment zones. Disinfection will be carried out twice a day,” he explained.
Mr. Palaniswami reiterated that the disease could not be brought under control without the people’s cooperation.
“People should compulsorily wear masks, wash their hands and maintain physical distance. They should avoid going outside unnecessarily, and should visit a hospital if they develop symptoms,” he said.