Bengal has extended Covid-related restrictions on services and movement till June 15. Restrictions currently in place were announced on May 15 and were due to expire at the end of the month.
Mamata Banerjee said Covid numbers in the state – one of those worst affected by the second wave – were declining and, for the economy’s sake, she was not announcing a “total lockdown”.
“Please don’t call this a lockdown. Covid numbers have come down and for the sake of the economy there will be no total lockdown,” the Chief Minister said, adding, “The pandemic situation in the state has eased a little because of existing restrictions.”
Restrictions announced earlier this month will carry over into the new ‘near-lockdown’ period.
All offices and educational institutions will be shut, as well transport services, including the Metro.
Emergency services will be allowed, as will home deliveries and other online services.
Grocery stores and shops selling essential items will stay open between 7 and 10 am. Shops selling sweets, including traditional Bengali sweetmeats, can open from 10 am to 5 pm.
Banks are open from 10 am to 2 pm.
Jewellery and saree shops are open from 12 noon to 3 pm.
Petrol pumps are open.
Industries will be closed but tea gardens can function, although at 50 per cent strength only.
Earlier, the number of workers allowed for the jute industry was 30 per cent. That has been hiked to 40 per cent.
No cultural, political, academic, administrative or religious events and functions will be allowed during this period. No outdoor congregations will be permitted between 9 pm and 5 am.
Weddings can have a maximum of 50 guests.
Shopping complexes, beauty parlours, cinema halls, sports facilities and restaurants are shut indefinitely.
This morning Bengal reported over 16,000 new COVID-19 cases and 153 deaths in 24 hours. Active cases are over 1.23 lakh – which is marginally lower than the record 1.32 lakh from May 18.
Nearly 15,000 Covid-related deaths have been reported from Bengal since the pandemic began in December 2019.