Even as its daily Covid-19 tally remaining well above the 5,000-mark and the virus’s Delta Plus variant threatening a third wave, the Tamil Nadu government on Friday relaxed lockdown rules as it eased norms for outdoor activity.
As per the latest state notification, the existing curbs have been extended till July 5 but there are quite a few relaxations for citizens in Chennai and neighbouring districts. Shopping malls, places of worship, apparel, and jewellery shops and gyms can open for business.
Cinema halls and restaurants cannot receive patrons yet but food delivery services can run in full swing, according to the latest press release from the MK Stalin-led Government.
Tamil Nadu will continue to impose lockdown rules in 11 districts in the western belt including Coimbatore, Erode, Tirupur and other industrial centres as cases are yet to dive steeply compared to other districts. The second basket of districts, counting 23, will see further relaxations while the top 4 districts — Chennai, Thiruvallur, Chenglepet and Kanchipuram— will see a large raft of relaxations.
In Chennai, shopping malls, food courts cannot serve diners but parcel services are allowed, said the release.
The state has also allowed sports activities in auditoriums and playgrounds—without spectators. Beaches will be open in the mornings to enable walkers, joggers, and the like. Weddings can be held at 50 per cent occupancy.
On Sunday, the state had allowed resumption of Metro Rail services with 50 per cent occupancy, and intra and inter-district bus (non-airconditioned) services in four districts including Chennai with 50 per cent seat occupancy.
On Thursday, Southern Railway announced that it will begin suburban train services start operations in Chennai from today. The Southern Railways has classified passengers into several categories: while women and children below 12 years can board the trains anytime, there are certain restrictions for male passengers.
Tamil Nadu had counted among large states such as Maharashtra and Karnataka to face severe oxygen and bed shortage at the peak of the second wave last month.