A day after the Punjab government extended the Covid-19 lockdown in the state till June 30 in lines with the Centre's order announced earlier, the state on Sunday issued the guidelines for the next phase of the lockdown starting on June 1.
In fresh guidelines issued by the state government, it allowed the opening up of worship places besides hotels, restaurants and shopping malls from June 8.
Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh asked for clearly-defined SOPs/guidelines to be put in place to open up hotels/hospitality services, shopping malls, places of worship, and restaurants for in-dinning.
He also announced immediate opening up of shops shops, including liquor and barber shops, beauty parlours, spas, etc from June 1 in the non-containment zones.
However, shops in main baazars can function between 7 am and 7 pm, and liquor vends can remain open from 8 am to 8 pm beginning June 1, in areas outside containment zones only.
The chief minister directed the Health and Transport Departments to come out with detailed SOPs for allowing movement of vehicles in the next phase.
In the containment zones, however, only essential activities will be allowed.
The movement of individuals for all the non-essential activities, in all areas, shall remain prohibited between 9 pm to 5 am, as per the Centre’s guidelines.
District Collectors have been authorised to exercise their discretion in staggering the timings to avoid crowding, in main baazars, market complexes and rehri markets. Barber shops, hair-cut salons, beauty parlours and spas have been asked to strictly follow norms issued by the state Health Department.
The lockdown also brought little respite for the cash-strapped Punjab government, which collected over Rs 1 crore in just 13 days, in the the form of fines from erring Punjabis for violating lockdown rules in the state.
Punjab State COVID Control Room member Rahul Gupta said that lockdown in the state was extended for another four weeks and people have not been taking the lockdown seriously as in a span of 13 days, the government had fined over 40,000 persons for violating the norms.
"Lockdown in the state will continue for four more weeks till June 30. Violations are continuing and government has in just 13 days, fined 40,000 persons for violating lockdown norms and collected more than one crore rupees imposed as fine. This shows that people are still not taking the lockdown very seriously," he said.
The Food and Civil supplies department had also been asked to add face masks in the ration kits for the needy, he added.
The chief minister urged people to avoid non-essential travel, wear masks and follow social distancing norms at all times.
E-commerce activities have also been permitted in the next phase for all goods and items. Sports complexes and stadia can also open but without spectators.
Inter-state travel buses can ply with the consent of other states, as per SOPs to be issued by the Transport Department. However, inter-state movement of essential goods will not be restricted. The Transport Department will also issue SOPs for intra-state movement of buses.
There will be no restriction in inter-state or intra-state movement of passenger vehicles for those that have downloaded the self-generated e-pass downloaded from COVA app.
Incoming passengers from other states on trains and domestic flights will have to follow the SOPs issued the Health Department and will also be required to either download the COVA app and get a self-generated e-pass issued, or declare their particulars at the railway station. The passengers would also be home quarantined for 14 days.
All categories of industries, construction activities have been allowed to operate in the state, without any restriction, in both rural and urban areas, along with agricultural, horticultural, animal husbandry, veterinary services. No separate permission would be required by the industries and other establishments to resume their operations.
Central government and private offices will also be allowed to open as per required strength, with timings to be adjusted to work in small teams, if needed.
For Punjab government offices, the Head of the office will ensure that there is adequate space for maintaining social-distancing norms within the workplace. If the space is inadequate, the employees will be required to attend office on rotational basis.
District authorities may stagger timings of various offices without curtailing the office hours. All government and private employees will be allowed to move without any requirement of pass during 5 am to 9 pm.
The activities that will continue to be prohibited in the state till June 30 are cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places.
Social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions and other large congregations will also not be allowed.
There is also complete prohibition on spitting in public places, consumption of liquor, pan, gutka, tobacco etc. in public areas. However, there is no restriction on the sale of these items.