Though there has been a sharp fall in the number of fresh Covid cases in West Bengal, the state government on Monday decided to extend the lockdown for another 15 days till July 1, with some relaxations to give a boost to economic activities.

The state government will review the situation in another four days before taking further decisions.

A notification issued by the state home department said that all intra-state local trains and buses, Metro rail, and inland water transport shall remain closed, except for special trains for the movement of emergency and essential service providers.

Movement of private vehicles, taxis and auto-rickshaws will be prohibited except to and from hospitals, nursing homes, diagnostic centres, clinics, airports, terminal points and media houses.

All schools, colleges, universities, polytechnics, Anganwadi centres and other educational institutions shall continue to remain closed. All social, cultural, academic and entertainment related gatherings shall continue to be prohibited.

All beauty parlours, cinema halls, gyms, spa and swimming pools shall remain closed, the order stated.

However, to increase economic activities in the state, both government and private offices can reopen with 25 per cent staff strength. In private and corporate offices, the timings have been restricted from 10 am to 4 pm, and the attendees would be required to apply for e-pass.

The order also stated that all production units and industries may function with 50 per cent of their total strength in each shift, subject to vaccination of the employees, wearing of masks and maintenance of physical distancing measures.

Employers shall make transport arrangements from their end and obtain e-passes from the Kolkata Police and the district administration.

The state government has also extended the timings of restaurants and bars, allowing them to operate from 12 pm to 8 pm with 50 per cent seating capacity. As per the previous order, the restaurants were allowed to operate only from 5 pm to 8 pm.

The relaxation in curbs will come into effect from June 15.

Parks and gardens would remain open only between 6 am and 9 am for morning walkers. However, only those citizens would be permitted to enter the parks who have been vaccinated, the government said.

Markets would remain open between 7 am and 11 am, whereas other retail shops have been permitted to operate from 11 am to 6 pm.

The order also stated that sporting activities may resume in stadia and clubs sans spectators.

Indoor and outdoor shooting and associated activities related to TV programmes and cinema may resume with not more than 50 persons per unit at a time, subject to vaccination, wearing of masks, maintenance of physical distancing and with own transport arrangements.

However, e-commerce and home delivery of all commodities shall be allowed.

–IANS

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