Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Sunday extended the COVID-19 lockdown till June 30 but announced significant relaxations, including resumption of limited public transport except in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Chengalpattu and non-containment zones.

Places of worship, hill stations, malls, amusement parks, auditoriums, resorts, lodges and the like shall remain closed for public and tourists. No large congregations would be permitted and the prohibitory orders would remain in place till June 30. Educational institutions would not be reopened and Metro Rail and EMU services shall remain suspended.

No relaxation has been offered in COVID-19 containment zones.

While taxis and autorickshaws would be allowed to ply with a limit of three and two passengers respectively from June 1, non-air-conditioned restaurants and tea shops would be permitted to offer dine-in service with 50% seating capacity from June 8.

Tea shops and eateries (only takeaway till June 7), grocery and provision stores would be allowed to operate between 6 a.m and 8 p.m.

Relaxations in Chennai

In a statement, Mr. Palaniswami said that in Chennai:

  • All private companies would be allowed to function with 50% staff
  • IT and ITES sector could operate with certain restrictions
  • Non-air-conditioned showrooms and major establishments, including jewellery and textiles, could function with 50% staff but could cater to a maximum of five customers at a time from June 1.
  • Salons and beauty parlours have been allowed to operate without air-conditioning facilities and in line with the Standard Operating Procedures to be issued by the government separately.

Rest of Tamil Nadu

In non-containment areas outside Chennai, industries, IT and ITES have been allowed to operate with 100% staff. “However, work from home option is to be encouraged for 20% staff,” Mr. Palaniswami said.

All private establishments could operate with 100% staff with work from home options “encouraged to the extent possible”. Large jewellery and textile shops could operate with 50% staff with five customers at a time and by adhering to physical distancing norms.

“TASMAC (liquor outlets) and other shops can operate between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.,” the Chief Minister said.

Besides, e-commerce firms would be permitted to offer delivery service, including for non-essential commodities.

₹ 2,500 honorarium

Mr. Palaniswami also announced that an honorarium of ₹2,500 would be granted to each of about 33,000 ‘cleanliness workers’ working within areas under the Greater Chennai Police limit. He also commended their services.

As part of efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, when people from crowded areas were moved from their habitation for quarantine within Greater Chennai Corporation limits, a financial assistance of ₹1,000 would be granted to them while leaving the camps.

Mr. Palaniswami also appealed to the people to extend cooperation to the anti-COVID-19 efforts being taken by the government by wearing masks while stepping out and in public places and by maintaining physical distancing.

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