In view of the rising number of COVID-19 patients, Chennai and its surrounding districts of Kancheepuram, Chengalpattu and Thiruvallur will be under a lockdown from June 19 to June 30. The 12-day lockdown which is expected to be stricter than the previous editions has prompted many residents to leave the city to their hometowns.
The decision to enforce another lockdown was taken by the government of Tamil Nadu after the Medical Expert Committee and District Collectors across the state recommended that the four districts be isolated, in figurative terms, from the rest of Tamil Nadu. As of Wednesday, of the 21,990 active cases in Tamil Nadu, around 19,000 patients are from these four districts.
The government of Tamil Nadu has issued a set of regulations around the services permitted and prohibited during these 12 days. Here is a full list:
- Hospitals, labs, pharma shops, ambulances, hearse vehicles and other allied medical activities are permitted.
- Autos, taxi, private vehicles not allowed to ply. However, vehicles ferrying passengers to and from the airport and railway stations are allowed to operate. The e-pass issued to the passengers is sufficient proof for the permission.
- Essential services like vegetable sales, groceries, petrol and diesel etc will be available from 6 am to 2 pm. Mobile units selling vegetables and groceries will also be allowed between 6 am and 2 pm. Delivery apps like Big Basket, Dunzo and Daily Locally will also be allowed to operate. However, the Greater Chennai Corporation has ordered closure of all slaughterhouses and meat stalls in its limits from June 19 to 30. The ban will be applicable to online meat delivery services also.
- Milk and water supply vehicles are allowed to ply.
- Restaurants are allowed to function and sell parcel food from 6 am to 8 pm. Food delivery services like Swiggy and Zomato are allowed to function. Tea shops, however, will not be allowed to operate.
- Amma canteens and community kitchens run by the government and local bodies will continue to function. Till June 30, food will be available for free at Amma canteens in the four districts.
- NGOs and voluntary organisations providing relief will be allowed on obtaining prior permission from authorities.
- Goods vehicles transporting essential commodities will be allowed to ply.
- On June 21 (Sunday) and June 28 (Sunday), there will be a total shutdown enforced in these areas. Only distribution of milk, and functioning of hospitals, ambulances, medical shops and hearse vehicles will be allowed.
- No activities will be allowed in containment zones. Rations to people living in these zones will be supplied through Public Distribution System (PDS) shops at their doors.
- Bank branches will be allowed to function from June 20 to June 26 from 10 am to 2 pm with minimal staff. However, direct services are not permitted during these days. Only transactions related to distributors and retailers of essential items will be allowed.
- Telecommunications and essential Information technology and information technology enabled services will be allowed to function with minimal staff. E-passes will be issued only to those employees mentioned in the list provided by the companies.
- Distribution of petroleum products and LPG cylinders will be permitted during this period.
“The aim is to prevent people from venturing outside to buy essential items. Hence it has been given that the use of vehicles shall be avoided. We have had instances in which people travel till a faraway market to buy vegetables which are available in good quality in their nearby stores itself. That tendency needs to be discouraged,” a senior official of the Greater Chennai Corporation told TNM.