Deviating from the Centre's order granting certain relaxations in "Red" zones during the third phase of the coronavirus-induced lockdown beginning today, the Gujarat government has decided against giving any relief in six cities and as many municipalities due to high number of cases.
A senior official said on Sunday that Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had decided against granting any relief in the municipal limits of Ahmemdabad, Surat, Vadodara, Gandhinagar and Bhavnagar--all in "Red" zone, and Rajkot municipal corporation which falls under "Orange" zone.
"No relaxation will be allowed in the lockdown rules for another two weeks in municipal corporations of Ahmemdabad, Surat, Vadodara, Gandhinagar, and Bhavnagar, as well as six municipalities of Botad, Bopal, Khabhnat, Bareja, Godhra and Umreth which are under red zone (as per the Centre's notification)."
"No relaxation will be allowed in Rajkot municipal corporation as well, which is under orange zone. This was decided by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani at a high-level meeting held on Saturday," said Ashwani Kumar, Secretary to Chief Minister, in a press briefing via video conferencing.
As on Saturday, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat together accounted for over 4,500 of the total 5,054 COVID-19 cases in Gujarat.
Though the Centre has allowed standalone shops and private offices (with 33 per cent staff) to remain open in "Red" zones outside containment areas, the state government has decided against such relaxation within the limits of the above six municipal corporations and as many municipalities.
"Except the shops selling essential items, no shops will be allowed to remain open in the above-mentioned areas. No offices will also be allowed to remain open," Mr Kumar said.
No paan shops selling cigarettes, paan masala, gutkha, or permit liquor shops will be allowed to operate in any part of the state irrespective of the zones during the lockdown period, he said.
The state government has, however ,allowed industries to resume operations in rural areas, two municipal corporations and 156 municipalities on the condition of adhering to social distancing norms, Mr Kumar added.
The government has allowed opening of salons, beauty parlours and tea shops in Orange and Green zones, the official said.
Taxis and cab services are also allowed in these zones on the condition that only two passengers, besides driver, can travel.
Mr Kumar said the government had decided to restrict people from coming out of their houses between 7 pm and 7 am in the areas placed under the strict lockdown.
State transport buses have been allowed to operate in green zones with 50 per cent capacity, he said.
"Drivers and conductors will face action if they ferry more than 30 passengers in one bus," he said.
Relaxation has been given to industries to operate in rural areas as well as municipal corporations of Junagadh and Jamnagar.
"They will have to operate in a staggered manner, and have to screen workers and maintain social distancing norms," he added.
MrKumar also said that permissions and passes will not be required to be renewed for the third phase of the lockdown, which is slated to remain in force till May 17, as they will be considered valid without the need to apply afresh.