Bengaluru: In what could be an indication of more relaxations in Karnataka during Lockdown 4.0, the state government on Friday ordered all Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) employees to report to work in full strength.
The government has also issued a circular specifying guidelines for schools to deal with the post-pandemic normal. However, the date for commencement of the new academic year has not been mentioned.
The state government has also issued guidelines for the resumption of public transport services, schools and malls.
So far, BMTC has been providing buses to essential services providers and is ferrying migrant workers to train stations. The government has also informed private companies that they can hire buses from the corporation to allow 33% workforce to commute to work. Earlier this week, the corporation also asked all its employees, who had travelled to their native places, to be present for medical tests conducted at the depot level.
Even though it is unlikely that schools and educational institutions will open up post May 17, the department of public instruction has been deliberating over a standard operating procedure (SOP) to be followed in the event that the Centre permits the same.
According to the guidelines suggested, schools should ensure social distancing norms are practised and that no more than three students sit on a bench. If they face a shortage of classrooms, they should use other spaces like libraries, sporting area or computer rooms to accommodate the students. Schools could alternatively use government building, community halls or anganwadi building in the afternoon if need be. If schools cannot follow social distancing after complying with the above guidelines, then the school can have rotational shifts – the first shift from 7:50 am to 12:20 pm and second from 12:10 pm to 5 pm. The guidelines also prescribe conducting only 36 classes per week by reducing extracurricular activities.
Meanwhile, members of the Shopping Centres Association in India also made a representation to Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa stating that shopping malls were ready to re-open in a phased manner. They submitted an SOP, and said it ensures 100% safe, hygienic environment and the malls would take complete accountability of enforcement of social distancing norms. While the Karnataka government said it was considering opening up of gyms and fitness centres as part of the easing measure of Lockdown 4.0, shopping malls haven't found much support. SOPs suggested by the association to the state government include distance markers installations at entry/exit points, cash counters and help desks. Restricted mall timings and use of only 50% of parking capacity. They've also proposed screening of all visitors and staff as well as the deployment of only 50% staff strength in Phase 1.
The Karnataka High Court has said that courts will continue to remain shut till June 6. Earlier, through a notification, district judiciary, family courts, labour court and industrial tribunals in the state were asked to remain shut till May 16. However, this period has now been extended through a notification from the registrar general.