COVID-19 in Bengal: standalone shops of non-essential items to open from 10am to 6pm outside containment zones

West Bengal chief secretary Rajiva Sinha on Monday said that standalone shops of non-essential items outside containment zones in the state can remain open from 10 am to 6 pm during the extended lockdown. Shops selling essential goods will remain open following earlier guidelines, he added.

All standalone shops outside containment areas including sweet shops, tea and paan shops will remain open between 10 am to 6 pm. However, as mentioned earlier, no gatherings will be allowed in tea and paan shops.

Private offices outside containment zones will be allowed to run from 10 am to 6 pm with 25 per cent workforce. The government, however, suggests them to allow their staff to work from home as far as practicable, Sinha said. Violation of these guidelines will be liable to penal action under Disaster Management Act, Sinha said.

Pool cars carrying office goers can carry only two passengers other than the driver. Shopping malls, market complexes and street vending won’t be allowed. Gathering of more than seven persons won’t be allowed for social purposes, in shops, banks and post offices. Rallies are also banned.

Intra-district bus services can resume in green zones (where there are no COVID-19 cases) soon. The buses won’t be able to carry more than 20 passengers however, and will have to sanitize the buses regularly. Construction activities in urban areas will be allowed in urban areas only if the workers stay at the construction site. Permission of district magistrates will be needed for this. Mining activities in green and orange zones will be allowed.

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