Kolkata & the rest of Bengal slowly get back to normalcy on first day of “phased reopening”

After nearly nine weeks of lockdown, Kolkata and the rest of West Bengal – big cities, small towns and villages – started getting back to normal as the Centre and state governments lifted the lockdown restrictions outside containment zones [Here are the containment and buffer zones across West Bengal].

In phase one – from June 8 – places of worship, shopping malls, hotels and restaurants are scheduled to re-open, maintaining social distancing norms as well as adequate measures for sanitizing and cleaning. State government offices in Bengal will also start functioning from June 8. Public transport is also on its way to becoming normal, as the government has allowed autorickshaws to ply with two passengers and buses with 20 passengers. The number of passengers are being increased gradually.

However, tea gardens and jute industry is scheduled to start operating with full capacity of workers from Monday. Several businesses including shops, markets, small and large industries, tea gardens, jute mills, mining and construction works are resuming operations from Monday.

According to the order of the Ministry of Home Affairs, in subsequent phases, more restrictions will be lifted to pave the way for reopening of schools, colleges, other educational institutions. In the third phase, metro railway, international air travel (as permitted by the Ministry of Home Affairs), cinema halls, parks, gyms etc will reopen too.

However, a night curfew – between 9 pm to 5 am – will continue, except for essential services. The lockdown will continue in containment zones till June 30.

Social distancing norms, use of mask outside the house, restricting number of persons per gathering, penalising spitting on the road etc. will continue. The Centre has also advised work from home “as far as possible”, staggering of work/business hours as well.

[Photograph representational]

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