Chennai: As coronavirus cases inched closer to 2.5 lakh mark in Tamilnadu, including about one lakh in Chennai alone, Lockdown 7.0 began in the State today with more relaxations.
The new normal life which came into force last month continued with some more relaxations, with vehicles, autos, cabs plying as usual and shops and business establishments functioned by following the Standard Operating Procedures put in place by the government. Temples which have less than Rs 10,000 annual income were opened for devotees in non-Corporation areas.
Like last month, the State would be under total and complete lockdown, without any relaxations, on all Sundays from tomorrow to prevent further spread of the coronavirus, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said, while extending the lockdown by another month till 31 August after a meeting with district Collectors, public health expertsn medical panel and his Cabinet colleagues.
As part of more relaxations from today, all tea shops and hotels, would be allowed with dining facilities by maintaining socialdistancing. All industries, private and export firms, functioned with 75 per cent staff strength as against 50 per cent allowed earlier.
The timing of hotels and tea shops with 50 per cent dining facility was extended by an hour till 7 pm, while there was no change for restaurants, which were allowed only takeaways from 6 am to 9 pm.
The functioning of all grocery and vegtable shops was also extended by an hour from 6 am to 7 pm from today. The timing of textile and other retail shops without AC facility was also extended by an hour from 10 am to 7 pm
However, all schools and colleges, amusement parks, gyms, temples, places of worships, religious meets, tourist spots like Ooty, Kodaikanal, Yercaud and Kodaikanal, hotels, resorts, shopping malls, public transports, train services, including EMU services, Chennai Metro and flight services(except for those allowed by the Centre), theatres, bars,beaches, zoos, museums and places where the people would congregate in large numbers, would be out of bounds for the public till 31 August.
The inter-State transport services also continued to remain suspended till further orders, while vehicles transporting essential commodities were allowed.
Small temples with an annual income less than Rs 10,000, churches and mosques in all village panchayats, town panchayats and municipal corporations were allowed to open for worship with permission from the Collectors.
However, prominent places of worships, including temples, mosques and churches and those coming under the Greater Chennai Corporation limits continued to remain shut.
Fresh relaxations in areas coming under Chennai city came into force with commercial establishments, private companies and export units operating with 75 per cent workforce as against 50 per cent earlier.
In a GO issued on extending the lockdown and as part of continuing restrictions, the state government said the number of guests in weddings should not exceed 50, while it should not exceed 20 in funerals and last rites.
It said people above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 were advised to remain indoors and not to venture out except for essential and medical needs.
Independence Day would be celebrated across the State by following the gudielines issued by the Centre and by wearing facemaks and maintaining social distancing, it said, adding, e-pass was a must for travelling outside the State and for coming into the State.