West Bengal government today extended the existing Covid related restrictions till 30 July but allowed metros to ply five days a week with 50 per cent capacity though local trains will continue to remain suspended.
“The State Executive Committee of West Bengal State Disaster Management Authority after a review of the current situation of the pandemic recommended further extension of certain restriction measures with a graded and calibrated approach to relaxations,” read a notification issued by state chief secretary HK Dwivedi.
Metro railway service shall operate five days a week with 50 per cent seating capacity and shall remain suspended on Saturdays and Sundays. Regular sanitisation of the metro, wearing of masks and appropriate Covid compliant discipline by passengers shall be ensured by the metro authorities and the local administration.
However, intra-state local train movement will remain closed except for staff special trains for movement of emergency and essential services personnel. With banking hours being extended by an hour, banks and financial institutions shall remain open for restricted hours between 10 am to 3 pm instead of 2 pm.
This apart, all the existing restrictions will continue to remain in place. The notification came on a day when MHA issued an advisory to all chief secretaries on imposing stringent restrictions in areas where Covid safety norms are flouted.
The Ministry has noted that blatant violation of Covid norms had been reported in several parts of India.
According to the notification, movement of public transport including intra-state government and private buses, inland waterways transport, tram, local taxis, cabs and auto-rickshaws will be allowed with 50 per cent seating capacity at a time, subject to vaccination of drivers and other staff along with regular sanitization of vehicles and mandatory wearing of masks.
All schools/ colleges/ universities/ polytechnics/ anganwadis and academic institutions shall continue to remain closed.
Along with this, cinema halls, spas and swimming pools shall continue to remain closed. However, swimming pools for the routine practice of state, national and international level swimmers may remain open from 6 to 10 am.
Restaurants and bars may remain open with 50 per cent capacity and will not be allowed to operate beyond 8 pm.
All shops and markets (essential and non-essential commodities) will remain open as per the usual operational hours while the retail shops in shopping malls will remain open as per usual operational hours with a 50 per cent workforce and restricted entry of customers up to 50 per cent at a time.
Gyms shall be allowed to remain open from 6 to 10 am and 4 to 8 pm with 50 per cent capacity, provided the staff and customers have been vaccinated. Similarly, salons and beauty parlours can operate as per usual operation hours.
All political, social, cultural, academic and entertainment-related gatherings, groupings and congregations shall continue to be prohibited. A maximum of 50 people shall be allowed in marriage ceremonies and 20 at funerals.
Government offices will remain open as per normal working hours with 25 per cent strength and the heads of departments shall prepare a duty roster. Private and corporate offices may remain open as per normal working hours with 50 per cent staff strength. Similarly, all production units, mills and industries including the IT/ITES sector may function with a 50 per cent workforce in each shift.
Parks may remain open for morning walkers from 6 to 9 am and only the vaccinated people would be allowed. Games and sports may resume in stadiums and clubs with sports facilities but without spectators. Indoor and outdoor shooting activities have been permitted with a maximum of 50 people at a time.
The existing prohibition on all outdoor activities between 9 pm to 5 am will continue to remain unchanged. The state government has already made it mandatory for tourists visiting Digha and Darjeeling to either carry the final vaccination certificate or a negative RT-PCR report.
Amidst an overall decrease in the single-day Covid cases across the state, North 24 Parganas, Kolkata and Darjeeling have been recording maximum cases.
Meanwhile, the state health department has started a ‘sentinel survey’ to monitor the Covid situation so as to prepare for future planning.