Updated: June 6, 2021 7:49:36 am
Starting Monday, the national capital will come out of the stringent lockdown that has been in place for over a month, with markets, shopping malls, private offices and the Delhi Metro starting. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced the un-lockdown Saturday, as part of measures to “revive the economy”.
Delhi has seen a significant drop in Covid cases and deaths, after a severe wave in April and May. Over the past 24 hours, the city saw 414 cases and 60 deaths, with the positivity rate at 0.53%.
The highlight of Saturday’s announcement was the decision to allow markets and shopping malls to reopen from Monday on an odd-even system between 10 am and 8 pm daily, and the start of Delhi Metro at 50% capacity.
This implies that 50% of shops in a market will open on a given day, with the odd-even rule applying as per the number assigned to them by the local traders’ associations.
While liquor shops will also reopen as per the same norms, restaurants and bars will remain shut, as will parks and gardens. Barber shops, salons, beauty parlours and gyms are also not allowed for now.
Self-employed persons such as electricians, plumbers will continue to operate, and there will be no restrictions on e-commerce services.
All private offices in NCT of Delhi can now operate with no more than 50% of their staff strength, between 9 am and 5 pm, after ensuring that their staff have valid authority letters and I-cards.
In Delhi Government offices, Grade I staff can attend at 100% strength. Of the remaining staff, only up to 50% can be called as per requirement.
Health and Family Welfare and all related medical establishments, police, prisons, home guards, civil defence, fire and emergency services, power, water and sanitation, public transport (air / railways / Delhi Metro/ buses) and all services that are considered essential shall function without any restrictions.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority order outlining the ‘unlock’ provisions, issued soon after the CM’s announcement, said shops selling essential goods, including educational books, stationery items, fans, are permitted to open on all days without restriction of timings.
All standalone (single) shops and all neighbourhood (colony) shops, as well as shops in residential complexes, can stay open on all days without any distinction of essential and non-essential goods/ services between 10 am and 8 pm.
In a statement, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said half its 336 trains will be pressed into service for now, with a frequency of 5-15 minutes, with entry into stations regulated and allowed only after thermal scanning and hand as well as baggage sanitisation.
While the curfew on movement will technically remain enforced, with people allowed out for “permitted activities”, the order to reopen markets, malls, metro and offices means it will not hold much significance.
“Now the corona situation is under control. The economy must be brought back on track,” Kejriwal said, announcing the relaxations through a webcast, adding that more sectors might be opened up later if the situation remains under control.
The lockdown had come into force on April 19, the day Delhi registered 23,686 cases. On April 20, it hit its highest ever tally of 28.395 cases.
Between then and May 30, when partial easing of restrictions was announced, with construction activity and factories allowed to reopen, Delhi recorded around 5.48 lakh Covid cases and 11,790 deaths, with test positivity rising up to 36.24%. The highest toll for a day was on May 3, with 448 deaths.
The lockdown in the second wave was more relaxed than last year’s, with no restrictions on movement of pregnant women and other patients, those travelling to and from airports, railway and bus stations, those proceeding for Covid testing or vaccination, or intra-state movement. Buses, taxis, autos and, initially also Delhi Metro, were allowed to ply, while restaurants and eateries could offer takeaway and home delivery services.’
Last year, when the city had remained under a prolonged lockdown, the unemployment rate had soared to 28.5% in October-November from 11.1% in January-February, as per a Delhi Government-commissioned survey.
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