Buses, taxis, autos to ply; malls to remain shut

Thiruvananthapuram, May 18 (PTI)As the fourth phase of the nation-wide lockdown began, the Kerala government on Monday eased certain restrictions and allowed buses, taxis and autorickshaws to ply.

Besides, barber shops and beauty parlours can be open, but malls would remain shut.

In a relief to the tipplers, the Left government announced that liquor outlets would be opened when an online system for booking liquor is ready.

The government also issued an order extendingthe lockdown till May 31 and issued guidelines in accordance with the central government guidelines.

While buses would be allowed within a district with 50 per cent capacity only, autorickshaws can ply with a lone passenger. However, a maximum of three people can travel in autos if they belong to the same family, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

With regard to taxis, two passengers, besides the driver, would be allowed to travel and in case it's a family, there can be three passengers apart from the driver. Private cars would also be allowed in the same manner.

'We will be following the general lockdown conditions in total but will make certain exemptions based on the state- specific requirements. All educational institutions will remain closed but online distance education will be encouraged,' he said.

Public transport would be allowed within a district with 50 per cent occupancy and no standing passengers, Vijayan said.

The Chief Minister further said except in containment zones, there would be no restrictions within the district for travelling.

'In four-wheelers, driver plus two passengers or three from a family will be allowed. In three-wheelers, its driver plus one passenger or maximum three from a family. On two- wheelers, pillion ride is allowed only for a family member,' Vijayan said.

He said inter-district travel would be allowed between 7 am and 7 pm for which there was no need to get a pass, but people need to carry an identity card.

Travel to faraway districts would require a pass, he said.

Malls would not be open, but 50 per cent of shops within shopping complexes can function as decided by the shopping complex management in consultation with local self-government institutions,Vijayan said.

'Barber shops and beauty parlours can open without AC with not more than two waiting customers. Liquor outlets would open as and when the online system is ready. Bars can sell liquor and food as a parcel. Licensed clubs can also sell liquor and food to their members,' he said.

People would not be allowed to travel in and out of a containment zone. But in case of an emergency, travel would be permitted, but 14 days home quarantine or institutional quarantine would be essential.

All government offices would function with 50 per cent attendance and the rest would work from home.Police stations would also function with 50 per cent staff.

Till further notice, all Saturdays would be a holiday for government offices, Vijayan said adding that government employees who are not able to travel long distances should report to the District Collector near their residence within two days and they would be deployed for COVID-19 related work within the district.

Marriage functions would be allowed with a maximum attendance of 50 people and in funerals not more than 20 people should participate.

All religious places would continue to be closed and Sundays would be observed as complete lockdown day,he said.

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