The Greater Chennai Corporation will seal commercial establishments for 14 days if they are found to be not enforcing norms on physical distancing and wearing of masks.

Corporation Commissioner G. Prakash on Thursday held a meeting with representatives from eateries and online agencies to control the spread of COVID-19 in the city.

At the meeting, officials stressed the need to adhere to safety norms.

“At least one lakh commercial establishments in the city attract crowds, increasing the risk of COVID-19 spread. The commercial buildings, including banks and PDS outlets, will be locked and sealed for 14 days for any violations pertaining to physical distancing. The establishments will be locked and sealed if any customers are found not wearing masks on the premises,” said Mr. Prakash.

Each of the commercial establishments has been directed to ensure physical distancing of their staff members and place hand sanitisers at the entrance.

According to estimates, at least 6,000 staff of online agencies that deliver commodities at the doorsteps of residents have been asked to follow norms pertaining to physical distancing, wearing of masks and sanitation.

Representatives of online agencies and hotels requested the civic body to reduce the fine amount for violation of norms. “We will rationalise the fine amount,” said Corporation Deputy Commissioner (Revenue and Finance) Meghanatha Reddy.

On Thursday, representatives of at least 10,000 commercial establishments, including salons, hotels, restaurants and online agencies participated in the meeting in Ripon Buildings and requested the Corporation to reduce the fine amount. They agreed to stringent measures by the civic body. Most of the representatives agreed to the locking and sealing of shops that violated norms. Each shop would be permitted to have a maximum of five persons in the building at a time.

On Friday, Corporation officials will meet representatives of banks and PDS outlets to promote physical distancing norms. Banks will be sealed if any COVID-19 positive cases are traced to the premises, officials said.

Following directions from Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Thursday, the Corporation has decided to increase the number of tests from 10,000 to 13,000 every day.

According to estimates, more than 15,000 commercial establishments have been contributing to crowding in various locations. The city has registered 80% compliance with respect to wearing of masks.

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