The News Scroll 04 May 2020  Last Updated at 5:30 pm | Source: PTI

COVID-19: More shops open in Assam after govt relaxes lockdown norms

COVID-19: More shops open in Assam after govt relaxes lockdown norms
Guwahati, May 4 (PTI) After 40 days of strict restrictions, the Assam government on Monday relaxed coronavirus-triggered lockdown norms allowing more shops to open in the state.

However, most of the outlets in the high-street areas kept their shutters down due to the numbering system that allows only one-third of the shops in a row to open on a particular day.

A night curfew from 6 pm to 6 am has been clamped across Assam till May 17 to prevent gathering of people in the evening.

The government has allowed standalone shops -- only one-third in a row -- to open in both urban and rural areas and the deputy commissioners held meetings with the market associations and commerce chambers in this regard on Monday morning.

As per the guidelines announced by health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday evening, if the first shop in a row is open on Monday, then the second and third will remain shut. On Tuesday, the first, third and fourth shops will be closed, and likewise.

Pharmacies, grocery shops and book stalls, however, will not come within this one-third consideration. Health related establishments like doctor chambers, veterinary clinics, dental clinics and laboratories are also spared from the curb.

As per the guidelines, all the shops barring pharmacies have to down their shutters at 5 pm, an hour before the curfew comes into effect.

Markets across the state where numbering system is complete have started functioning while elsewhere, where the process is still on, the shops will open accordingly, officials said.

"The shops are being numbered now. By the end of the day, this numbering will be over and they (owners) can open the shops from tomorrow (Tuesday)," Jorhat deputy commissioner Roshni Aparanji Korati told PTI.

Nalbari deputy commissioner Bharat Bhushan Devchoudhury said they have allowed only those shops to open where numbering has been completed.

"We are also restricting the movement of e-rickshaws. We have numbered them and implemented the odd-even scheme for that. This is done to dissuade the public to come out without a reason," he added.

In Guwahati too, the shops in high-street areas or local markets did not open till afternoon as the Kamrup metropolitan deputy commissioner Biswajit Pegu called for a meeting with the commerce chamber and associations for smooth implementation of the relaxations.

Offices in government and private sectors opened with 50 per cent employees with relaxation to women employees having children below the age of five till May 17.

The employees are allowed to enter office complexes after undergoing thermal scanning and using hand sanitisers, which have been arranged by the heads of the organisations irrespective of them being public or private entities.

In some areas of the state capital, long traffic jams were witnessed during morning office hours with people coming out in after more than a month in their own vehicles.

City buses, intra-district and inter-district buses started operating with 50 per cent capacity, but thy will not be allowed to ply in red and orange zones.

Bus conductors allowed a limited number of people to get in due to social distancing norms leading to crowding of the bus stops. However, many people jostled with each other everytime a bus arrived as they struggled to board it thereby defeating the very purpose of the exercise.

Other public transport such as autorickshaws, cycle rickshaws, taxis and cabs have started plying following the one driver-two passengers norm to ensure social distancing.

Private four-wheelers are allowed with a driver and two others, while pillion riding has been permitted for a woman or one child up to the age of 12 years in case of two-wheelers.

Standalone liquor shops have already opened from Saturday and long queues were seen at almost all outlets in the state.

To avail all the relaxations, wearing a mask is mandatory, failing which police will take action, Sarma had said. PTI TR SNS RHL

Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI
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