The residents of the national capital are in favour of easing corona-induced restrictions after May 17, when the third phase of lockdown ends, making way for a gradual reopening of public transport, markets, restaurants and parks, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday.
Kejriwal, who is among the few Chief Ministers who are in favour of greater relaxations in the fourth phase of the lockdown, read out a list of suggestions, mainly the ones advocating opening up of the economy, received from the people through emails, WhatsApp and recorded voice messages.
He said the state disaster management authority will have a meeting at Lt Governor Anil Baijal’s residence later in the day, which will be attended by him as well. At the meeting, the government will finalise the proposal on relaxations to be forwarded to the Union government, as desired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 11.
The government received 4.75 lakh WhatsApp messages, 10,700 emails and 39,000 voice recordings between May 12 and May 13, which include several “creative suggestions”, Kejriwal said, emphasising how he made the process participatory.
Among the activities that people are in favour of allowing, Kejriwal listed takeaway facility and home delivery from restaurants. Hotels, “most people have suggested”, should remain shut. “People said dining should not be allowed, but takeaway and home delivery should be allowed,” he said.
However, the general consensus is in favour of keeping barber shops, salons, saps closed, as these services involve contact among people, which makes them vulnerable to spread of the infection, the CM said. Cinema halls and swimming pools also fall in this category, he added.
People are also in favour of keeping schools, colleges and educational institutes shut, according to Kejriwal. He indicated that the rule barring people from venturing out between 7 pm and 7 am will be done away with, contending that people find the measure bereft of any logic.
However, he repeated his advice for the elderly, pregnant, and children to remain indoors. People have in large numbers urged the government to allow entry in parks for the purpose of walking, exercising and performing Yoga, the CM said, indicating relaxations will be provided in this area.
With regards to public transport, Kejriwal said people are in favour of allowing cabs and autos with 1-2 passengers on board, along with sanitizing after every trip. Buses should not carry more than 20-25 passengers, but should be allowed, especially considering the fact that government and private offices have reopened, Kejriwal said, reading from the suggestions.
Metro should also be opened in a “limited way”, people have recommended, said Kejriwal. The Transport Department and the Delhi Metro are already drafting protocols on allowing public transport as reported by The Indian Express on May 12 and May 13.
Meanwhile, market associations have written to the government to reopen markets and shopping malls. At market complexes, the odd-even rule may be implemented, allowing 50 per cent shops to open everyday, while in malls, one-third shops can lift shutters.
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