Chennai: The new Covid-19 containment restrictions enforced in Tamil Nadu by the state government have come into force from 4 a.m. on Thursday, officials said, adding the new measures will continue till May 20.
With new enforcements in force, heavy rush that was earlier witnessed in the roads of Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Trichy and other towns has come down.
Tamil Nadu Chief secretary Rajeev Ranjan in an order said that all state government offices will function with 50 per cent staff strength for a fortnight, beginning Thursday.
The order said that the secretaries to governments, head of departments, district collectors, will have an attendance schedule of the workforce.
The employees must be in shifts of either on alternate days or once in three days as per the requirement of the workload.
Private offices will also have to function with a 50 per cent workforce.
Public transport, railways, metro rail, public and private buses will operate with only 50 per cent of their occupancy.
Grocery shops (standalone) will be permitted to operate till 12 p.m.
Grocery and vegetable shops in shopping complexes are not allowed to operate.
All other shops other than grocery and vegetable shops will be closed. Shopping malls and other big shops have not been allowed to operate in the state since April 26.
State government and public sector outlets will be allowed to function till 12 p.m.
Restaurants will not be allowed to take sit-in customers while takeaways will be permitted from 6-10 a.m., 12-3 p.m., and from 6-9 p.m.
Cinema halls will remain shut and all social, political and cultural gatherings are prohibited in open or closed spaces.
“I think it is better to go for a lockdown rather than this. But the heavy financial losses is the reason for the government pulling back from the lockdown, it seems,” Mukundarajan, an employee with a private company, told IANS.
“Anyway, people will have to cooperate on whatever measures the government adopt to contain the spread of the virus and thereby saving precious human lives,” he added.