The Tamil Nadu government today announced resumption of public transport and more employees at the workplace as it extended the ongoing lockdown till June 30. The development comes day after the centre announced ''Unlock 1", a graded exit plan from the lockdown that allowed, among others, reopening places of religious worship and restaurants.
The state government, however, has continued its ban on religious places under the new guidelines released today. Ban on theatres, gyms and educational institutions will also remain in force for now.
Under the new measures that will kick in from tomorrow, pubic transport will resume with reduced services within districts, but buses will not be operated in Chennai, Kancheepurm, Tiruvallur and Chengalpet districts which having the highest concentration of COVID-19 cases in the state. Ban on inter-state transport will remain in place.
While taxis and autos have been allowed to operate, metro rail services will remain suspended during the period, the order states.
Showrooms and jewellery outlets, barring malls, can operate with 50 per cent staff while not more than five clients can be allowed at any point of time, he said adding air conditioners cannot run while social distancing is a must, Chief Minister K Palaniswami said in a statement.
"To prevent the spread of coronavirus, the curfew is being extended till June 30 under the State Disaster Management Act and as per the Union Home Ministry''s notification," he said in a statement.
Under the new relaxations, restaurants will be allowed to resume business from June 8. Until then, they can only provide take-aways, the new order states. Tea shops in the state will also be allowed to operate from June 8 with 50 per cent occupancy.
In state capital Chennai -- one of the worst-hit in the state, the state government has allowed taxis and auto rickshaws to run without e-pass in non-containment zones.Salons and parlours in Chennai will be allowed to operate without air conditioning, subject to guidelines to be issued. IT companies in the city will be allowed to work with 20 per cent of the workforce with a maximum of 40 people, the order says.
All business houses, including IT companies and industries in non-containment zones outside Chennai can resume operations with 100 per cent employees, it says.
All e-commerce activities including non-essential items will be allowed outside Chennai from tomorrow. Liquor shops outside the state capital will be allowed to function FROM 10 AM to 8 PM as per the new order.
Tourist destinations like Ooty, Kodaikanal and Yercaud will also remain out of bounds for outstation tourists, the new guidelines says.
Prohibitory orders will continue to be strictly implemented across the state, the government said. Domestic helps and outside vendors will have to follow the guidelines put in place in residential colonies.
Tamil Nadu is among the states worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It witnessed the biggest single-day spike of 938 new coronavirus cases on Saturday taking the infection count to 21,184.