State extends lockdown till June 16

Total shutdown during weekend

The State has extended the lockdown till June 16. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the State was yet to achieve the desired reduction in the COVID-19 transmission rate. He had earlier chaired a high-level meeting to review the pandemic situation.

The State would shut down entirely on June 12 and 13. The administration would allow only indispensable activity during the weekend.

New regulations

As per the new regulations, ration shops and stores selling food, groceries, fruits, vegetables, milk, and dairy products could open for business between 7 a.m. and 7.30 p.m.

The government has allowed the retail of meat, fish and cattle feed. It has also permitted animal husbandry-related activities. Bakeries could open for business. There is no restriction on medical shops and fuel pumps.

Banks can open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Shops selling construction material and raw material suppliers can conduct business.

The government has allowed food to be delivered home as parcels to keep the gig economy running while opening a door for youth to gain part-time employment.

Stationery shops, jewellery, footwear showroom, textile shops and opticals can open for one day on June 11 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Vehicle showrooms can open for service and maintenance on June 11. However, no sale is permitted. It has also directed that 50% of government employees should report for work from June 17.

Greater leeway

An official said the extension and further tightening of lockdown measures would accord the administration greater leeway to exert better pandemic transmission control.

Social gatherings, indoor dining, sale of legal liquor and public transport already remain banned. The government has also banned the sale of toddy as a takeaway.

He said opening government offices with 50% staff working alternate shifts was the precursor of a cyclical containment strategy to prepare for a possible third wave and keep the disease at bay until Kerala moved closer to universal vaccination.

The government was likely to apply the same strategy to the retail sector to sustain economic activity, albeit drastically reduced.

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