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Bengal announces extension of lockdown till June 15

Bengal announces extension of lockdown till June 15
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Kolkata: The Bengal government has extended the lockdown in the state for another two weeks till June 15 with a series of relaxations, including construction activities by engaging 100 per cent manpower apart from the "Affected Areas".

However, the restrictions shall continue for the areas designated as "Affected Areas" while all activities will be permitted in "Clear Areas".

The state government carried out booth-wise demarcation of the containment zones into three parts — "Affected Areas", "Buffer Areas" and "Clear Areas". The "Affected" zones are the areas where a high rate of infection has been reported.

The announcement of the Bengal government on Saturday comes a day before the fourth phase of the nationwide lockdown ends.

Besides the relaxations that were already announced by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday, the state government has also issued a notification on Saturday permitting operations in micro, small, medium and large industries including mining activities with 100 per cent workforce from June 1.

Shopping malls will also be allowed to open from June 8. Similarly, hotels and restaurants can also start functioning from June 8 onwards. But on all occasions, norms of physical distancing and health hygiene protocol must be strictly followed.

As per the new lockdown norms, "indoor and outdoor activities related to TV and cinema production with not more than 35 people per unit at a time" will be allowed from June 1. But there will be curbs on the same for reality-show production, including that of web-portals and Over-The-Top (OTT) platform.

As per her Friday announcements, it has also been notified on Saturday that operations in tea gardens and allied activities and that of in jute mills can be carried out with full strength from June 1. Similarly, places of worship can be opened from June 1 with not more than 10 people permitted to enter the premises at a time. However, gathering or assembly of people shall not be allowed.

The state government has also allowed inter-district movement of state-run and private buses from June 1 with passengers not more than the actual seating capacity and no standing will be allowed.

The state government offices will function with 70 per cent workforce on a rotational basis from June 8 while management of private offices can decide upon the workforce to be brought in to their respective offices. But, the state government has encouraged work from home.

In its notification on Saturday, the state government has clearly mentioned that all "management committees, trustees boards, governing bodies and owners of private institutions, organisations and establishments shall be responsible for compliance of the stated norms and guidelines".

Sanjay Budhia, Managing Director of Patton Group, expressed his gratitude towards the Chief Minister for her proactive and positive decision to kick start economic activities which will enable to catch up the valuable lost time of about two-and-a-half-months. He said: "Export orders were getting canceled. Failure of commitment were resulting in losing overseas customers. We sincerely thank our Chief Minister for her proactive and positive decision to kick start the economic activities which will enable to catch up the valuable lost time. Hence today's announcement will give much needed relief."

Meanwhile, the countrywide lockdown in containment zones has been extended till June 30, while hospitality services, hotels and shopping malls will be allowed to open from June 8, the Union Home ministry said on Saturday.

Termed 'Unlock 1', the Centre on Saturday issued fresh guidelines relaxing the nationwide lockdown, the fourth phase of which ends on May 31.

In the new directives, the Union Home ministry said re-opening of prohibited activities in areas outside containment zones will be done in a phased manner from June 1.

It said the lockdown, the fourth phase of which ends on Sunday, will remain in force in containment zones till June 30. Religious places of worship for public, hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and other hospitality services will be opened from June 8, the guidelines stated.

The decision to restart international air travel, Metro trains, cinema halls, gyms, political gatherings will be done after assessing the situation, it said.

Schools, colleges, educational, training, coaching institutions will be opened after consultations with states and Union Territories, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) guidelines said. It added that states and UTs can hold consultations with parents and other stakeholders on reopening of academic institutions from July.

The fresh guidelines also revised the night curfew timing stating movement of individuals will now be prohibited between 9 pm and 5 am across the country.

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