The lockdown-like restrictions in West Bengal have been extended till June 15, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced Thursday. The curbs had been enforced on May 16 to stem the surge in Covid-19 cases across the state.
With a slight decline in the number of infections since the curbs went into effect, the state government decided to extend it in the hope of a further decrease in cases.
Addressing a press conference at state secretariat Nabanna, the chief minister said, “Today, we wish to announce that the Covid-19 restrictions in the state will continue till June 15. But please understand that this is not a lockdown or a curfew. These are lockdown-like restrictions. We are extending the ongoing restrictions as they have helped in curbing the rise in Covid-19 infections.”
However, she announced a relaxation of norms for the state’s jute industry. “We don’t want the economy to suffer which is why we have allowed several industries to function. We have decided to allow the jute industry to operate with 40 per cent workforce instead of the prevailing 30 per cent,” Banerjee said.
As the norms currently in force, shops selling vegetables, fruits, groceries, milk, bread, meat and eggs are allowed to remain open from 7 am to 10 am, while medicine shops and optical stores can stick to their regular working hours.
Sweet shops are allowed to function between 10 am and 5 pm, while jewellery and saree stores are allowed to stay open between 12 pm and 3 pm. Banks are also open from 10 am to 2pm.
However, transport services, including private and government buses, as well as the Metro Rail service, have been stopped.