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Saturday, July 31, 2021

After Maharashtra alert on Delta Plus variant, lockdown tightened in Pune again; curfew after 5 pm

Meanwhile, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation on Saturday also re-imposed restrictions in view of the Delta Plus variant of Covid-19, and issued directives similar to the ones given by the PMC.

Written by Ajay Jadhav , Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: June 30, 2021 8:30:24 am
PMC staff collect swab samples of super spreaders like shop keepers, fastfood joint vendors, street vegetable sellers on JM road. (Express Photo by Ashish Kale)

After the Maharashtra government sounded an alert over the Delta Plus strain of Covid-19 and urged all districts not to relax lockdown norms further, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Saturday decided to re-impose the curfew in the city from 5 pm and issued directions to stall all permitted activities by 4 pm from Monday.

In a revised order, Municipal Commissioner Vikram Kumar said, “The lockdown norms have been issued based on the average positivity rate and percentage of occupancy of oxygen beds…”.

“Prohibitory orders will be in place to prevent more than five people from coming together till 5 pm, while there will be complete restriction on free movement of public after 5 pm except for emergency purposes,” he said, adding that the order will also be applicable to Pune Cantonment Board and Kirkee Cantonment Board areas.

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Earlier, the civic body had relaxed lockdown norms by allowing most activities till 7 pm and restaurants to be open till 10 pm for dine-in facility. The PMC decision comes after the state government raised an alert on the Delta Plus variant of Covid-19, after some cases and one death due to the new strain was reported in the state.

From Monday, essential category stores will be open on all days till 4 pm. Non-essential shops will be allowed to operate till 4 pm only on weekdays and will be completely closed on weekends.

Restaurants, bars, food courts can have dine-in facility only on weekdays till 4 pm with 50 per cent sitting capacity. Home delivery and parcel services are allowed till 11 pm on all days of the week. E-commerce services for all products will continue as usual.

Gardens and grounds have been allowed to be open for walks and cycling while outdoor sports will be permitted only from 5 am to 9 am. The earlier order granting permission for such activities in the evening has been cancelled.

Gyms, salons, beauty parlours and wellness centres are allowed to operate on weekdays till 4 pm with 50 per cent sitting capacity.

All private offices in the exemption category are allowed to function with 50 per cent attendance and till 4 pm on working days, while the same will be applicable for all government offices not under emergency service of Covid-related work. Government offices and emergency services required for Covid-19 management are allowed to operate with 100 per cent capacity.

Social, religious and entertainment functions can be held only on weekdays till 4 pm, with maximum attendance of 50 persons. The programme should not be longer than three hours. There will be complete ban on eating food at the function and violation of any Covid-appropriate behaviour will lead to ban on activities at the location till the end of the pandemic.

Marriages can take place with maximum attendance of 50 people while 20 people are allowed for the last rites of deceased kin.

PMPML services will be allowed with 50 per cent sitting capacity and no standing passengers.

Industries with export-oriented products, essential goods, continuous process products, items significant for national security and defence, data centres and IT services can operate as usual while other industries can function with 50 per cent of employees.

The PMC has further decided to close coaching classes, training institutes and educational institutes for classroom teaching. All religious places will continue to be closed to the public. Cinema halls will remain closed.

Meanwhile, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation on Saturday also re-imposed restrictions in view of the Delta Plus variant of Covid-19, and issued directives similar to the ones given by the PMC. The civic administration said from morning till 5 pm, prohibitory orders will remain in force while after 5 pm, curfew will be in place till next morning.

“The Delta Plus variant has spread in some districts of the state. It is predicted that in the next four to six weeks, the situation will turn serious. The state government has therefore directed that lockdown norms should be further tightened to ward off any threat of the third wave,” said Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Patil.

In revised directives, the civic chief said all essential shops will remain open on all days of the week till 4 pm. “Non-essential shops will also remain open till 4 pm from Monday to Friday. They will remain shut on Saturdays and Sundays,” the order said. All shops were allowed to remain open till 7 pm from June 21 as per the earlier order.

“Other industries can operate with 50 per cent of the capacity. But they will have to make travel arrangements of their employees. Their employees can’t use public transport,” stated the order, but this directive drew objections from industrial bodies.

“We have repeatedly said that industrial employees should be allowed to travel by public transport as small-scale industries can’t afford to hire private buses to ferry their workers,” said Sandeep Belsare, president of Pimpri-Chinchwad Small Scale Industries Association.

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