The Assam government announced a curfew from 6 pm to 6 am in the state starting Monday, mounting stricter restrictions on the Centre’s guidelines for the third phase of country-wide lockdown.
“This is not a lockdown, but a curfew. Everything except pharmacies will be open,” said Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma about the 12-hour curfew, while addressing a press conference in Guwahati.
Out of 33 districts in Assam, all but four are in ‘orange’ zones — the rest are in ‘green’ zones. There would be no relaxation in lockdown in the areas falling under orange zones, authorities said, whereas the green zones will have additional restrictions, in comparison to the guidelines by the Centre.
Lockdown 3.0. As per the National Directives, following are the guidelines to be followed by the people in the state of Assam, till May 17th , 2020, starting from tomorrow, May 4th. #StayHomeSaveLifes @CMOfficeAssam @assampolice pic.twitter.com/5Aszc2tew6
— Kumar Sanjay Krishna (@KrSanjayKrishna) May 3, 2020
While all standalone shops would be allowed to open in green zones, locations which have shops contiguously adjacent to each other, will have restrictions. “In areas where there are adjacent shops it shall be ensured that there are at least two closed shops in between two open shops except for pharmacies, grocery stores and book shops. Deputy Commissioners shall in consultation with market associations, identify the shops and allow them to operate only after this is finalised. Market complexes and shopping malls shall remain closed,” a government order, signed by chief secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna, on Sunday said. The ‘one-third’ rule does not apply to book shops, groceries, pharmacies.
Haats and bazars — including weekly markets — shall remain closed through the state.
Government and private offices in the green zones can function from Monday with 50 per cent employees. However, women employees in both private and public sectors, with children below five years of age are not to attend office till May 17.
The order also said that tea shops, restaurants and ice cream parlours can open for delivery or take away. E-commerce is allowed, too.
The government has allowed auto-rickshaws, cycle rickshaws and taxis to operate with one driver and two passengers while private four-wheelers are allowed with a driver and two others. “For two wheelers, pillion riding is allowed either with one female or one child up to the age of 12 years,” the order noted. City buses, inter-district buses and intra-district buses can ply with 50 per cent capacity. All construction activities to resume with 50 per cent workforce.
The order added: “Barber shops, saloons and parlours shall continue to remain closed, however, home visits of barber would be allowed after following hygiene and sanitisation norms.”
Sarma added that wearing masks and adhering social distancing norms were of utmost importance. He reiterated that persons above 65 and children under 12 will not be allowed to step out of their homes unless for medical-related emergencies.
Assam has reported 42 COVID-19 cases so far. Currently, there are nine active cases, with 32 discharged, and one death