Punjab eases Covid curbs; hotels, restaurants to open

With the state’s Covid positivity rate dropping to 2 per cent, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday announced easing of restrictions, allowing restaurants and other eateries, as well as cinemas and gyms, to open with 50 per cent capacity starting Wednesday.

The Chief Minister also announced an increase in gatherings, including for weddings and cremations, to 50 persons.

Under the new guidelines, which will remain in place till June 25 when they will be reviewed again, daily night curfew will be in place from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., with weekend curfew from 8 p.m. on Saturday up to 5 a.m. on Monday across the state.

However, all essential activities, including those covered under the existing exemptions, will remain unaffected by the curfew restrictions.

Chairing a high-level virtual Covid review meeting, the Chief Minister ordered opening of all restaurants, including hotels, cafes, coffee shops, fast food outlets, ‘dhabas’ etc., and cinemas and gyms with maximum 50 per cent of their capacity, subject to all their employees having received at least one dose of vaccine.

AC buses can also ply with 50 per cent occupancy.

Bars, pubs and ‘Aahatas’ (taverns) will, however, continue to remain closed. All educational institutions will also continue to be closed.

The district authorities have been asked to determine the opening timings of non-essential shops, including on Sunday, on the basis of the local situation, while ensuring that crowds are avoided.

The state had hit its second wave peak on May 8 with 9,100 cases, which had come down to a low of 629 on Monday.