Announcing state-specific guidelines for the fourth spell of lockdown based on the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) guidelines, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani on Monday emphasised on resumption of industrial and service activities for the benefit of the daily wagers, labourers and middle class, among others. The guidelines will be effective in Gujarat from Tuesday May 19 till Sunday, May 31.
For instance, barring those in containment zones, other areas in the state including highly Covid impacted cities of Ahmedabad and Surat have seen resumption of shops and offices with 50 per cent capacity on an alternate basis. While shops and offices in containment zones still remain closed, from Tuesday onwards those outside of containment zones will operate on an alternate basis while maintaining social distancing and hygiene.
While definition of green, yellow and red zones is awaited, Rupani said that due care has been taken in issuing guidelines to ensure minimal spread of Covid-19 while resuming business activity. "It is obvious that 55 days of lockdown would have impacted the working class including daily wagers, labourers, poor and middle class. Gujarat is a state of industry and trade and such activity cannot remain shut for very long," Rupani said in his address on social media.
As a result, Surat-based textile and diamond industry can now heave a sigh of relief with Rupani announcing resumption of activities in these industries at 50 per cent capacity even at textile markets while adhering to social distancing norms. As with other shops and offices, the Surat based industries will have to operate on an odd-even basis with alternate establishments remaining open each day.
In a major decision to make N95 masks and 3 layer masks available for general public, Rupani announced that the same will be sold at Rs 65 and Rs 5, respectively at Amul milk parlours. The state government has also announced a fine of Rs 200 for not wearing masks in public places.
With Ahmedabad continuing to reel under high number of daily positive cases and death toll of over 500, the city's containment zones will not see any resumption of activities except essential services. However, areas outside of containment zones in the western part of the city have seen relaxation in business establishments, shops and offices including non-essential services with 33 per cent capacity on alternate odd-even basis. While the inter-city public transport buses are being permitted in the state, the same will not be permitted to enter Ahmedabad.
While some of the MHA guidelines such as 7 pm to 7 am curfew along with closure of schools, colleges, gyms, swimming pools, malls, multiplexes, as well as religious and social gatherings remain the same, Gujarat has laid more restrictions in containment zones as well as the whole of Ahmedabad.
Cab aggregators and taxi services in Gujarat have also been allowed in areas outside of containment zones subject to one driver and two passengers adhering to social distancing norms, though the same continues to be restricted in containment zones of Ahmedabad. While restaurants in non-containment zones have been allowed for only home delivery services, those on state highways have been permitted to open for service provided they adhere to social distancing norms.
Public libraries except for those in schools and colleges have also been permitted to open at 60 per cent capacity in Gujarat. Auto garages and vehicle services centres have also been permitted to operate in non-containment zones, apart from allowing two-wheelers to ply with no pillion.
Meanwhile, apart from barber shops, beauty parlors and salons allowed to be opened in non-containment zones, the state government has also now permitted wedding ceremonies with attendance of maximum 50 people and cremation or burial services with maximum 20 in non-containment areas.