Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh today announced the extension of curfew in the state by two weeks after May 3, while unveiling steps for limited lifting of the lockdown restrictions, from tomorrow, in the non-containment and non-red zones, with strict adherence to Covid-19 safety protocols. The state has recorded over 300 cases of coronavirus with 19 fatalities so far.

Singh said it was necessary to continue with the lockdown restrictions for some more time and the decision was taken after a thorough examination of the report by the expert committee set up to formulate the state’s exit strategy and the inputs received from various sections of the society.

The curfew/lockdown in the state will now remain in force in Punjab will May 17, though limited easing of restrictions will be in place from tomorrow from 7 am to 11 am every day. The containment and red zones will, however, continue to remain under total and strict lockdown.

Limited easing of restrictions

The limited relaxations announced by the Chief Minister from tomorrow include permission for opening of all registered shops, except those in multi-brand and single-brand malls, with 50% strength of workers from 7 am to 11 am.

In urban areas, all stand-alone shops, neighbourhood shops and shops in residential complexes are allowed to open during this period, as per the new directives, which make it clear, however, that establishments dealing in services like saloons, barber shops etc. would continue to remain closed. Further, e-Commerce companies will continue to be permitted to deal in essential goods only during this period.

As per the limited relief announced by the chief minister, certain shops will be allowed to remain open in certain areas by rotation, for four hours every morning, with 50% staff strength. The DCs have been directed to work out the rotational schedule for the shops that are allowed to be opened in line with the Chief Minister’s directives, which have come four days after the new MHA guidelines came into effect.

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