In wake of the sudden spike in Covid cases, West Bengal on Sunday announced certain restrictions on the movement of people and public transport from Monday onwards.
Though Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier said that there will not be a lockdown but keeping in view of the rising cases, the government decided to close all educational institutions and restrict the movement of local trains.
Addressing a press conference, Chief Secretary H.K. Dwivedi said: “All academic activities in schools, colleges and universities shall remain closed. Only administrative activities shall be permitted with 50 per cent of employees at a time.”
This will continue till January 15.
He said local trains shall operate with 50 per cent seating capacity up to 7 p.m., metro services will 50 per cent seating capacity as per usual operational time, while movement of people and vehicles and public gatherings of any kind shall be prohibited between 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and only essential and emergency services shall be permitted.
Announcing the closure of all swimming pools, spas, gyms, beauty parlours, saloons, wellness centres, entertainment parks, zoos, tourist places, the Chief Secretary said: “All government offices including public undertakings shall function with 50 per cent of employees at a time. All private offices and establishments shall function with 50 per cent of employees at a time. Work from home shall be encouraged as far as possible.”
“Shopping malls and market complexes may function with restricted entry of people by not exceeding 50 per cent of the capacity at a time and up to 10 p.m. Restaurants and bars may operate with 50 per cent of capacity at a time and up to 10 p.m. Cinema halls and theatre halls may operate with 50 per cent of seating capacity at a time and up to 10 p.m.”
Under the rules, meetings and conferences shall be allowed with a maximum of 200 people at a time or 50 per cent seating capacity of the hall, whichever is lower, while not more than 50 persons shall be allowed for any social, religious and cultural gatherings, as well as for marriage related ceremonies and not more than 20 persons for funeral/burial services and last rites.
“Duare Sarkar camps starting 2nd January 2022 are hereby postponed and will be organised again from 1st February 2022”.
“Employers/management bodies/owners/supervisors of all offices, establishments and work places shall be responsible for provisioning of all Covid safety measures including regular sanitisation of work places, vaccination of employees and for compliance of stated directives and Covid appropriate norms. Work from home shall be encouraged as far as possible and practical,” he said.
The Chief Secretary said that home delivery of food and other essential products shall be allowed as per usual operational hours following proper Covid appropriate care and protocols.
“Wearing of masks, maintenance of physical distancing and health and hygiene protocols must be followed at all times,” he added.
District administration, police commissionerates and local authorities shall ensure strict compliance of the stated directives, and any violation of the restriction measures will be liable to be proceeded against as per the provisions of Disaster Management Act, 2005 and the Indian Penal Code, the order said.