Karnataka Cracks the Whip Amid Covid Spike; Shuts Schools, Gyms, Pools; Theatres to Run at 50% Capacity

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As Karnataka witnesses a worrying upsurge in COVID-19 cases, the state government on Friday announced a slew of measures to control the spread of the virus. The state ordered the closure of boarding and residential hostels for primary and secondary schools and optional attendance for students of Classes 10, 11 and 12. It further said gymnasium, party halls, club houses and swimming pools are to remain closed while occupancy in buses should not exceed beyond the seating capacity. Karnataka on Friday reported 4,991 fresh COVID-19 cases, of which 3,509 cases were reported from Bengaluru urban.

The order, issued by Karnataka Chief Secretary P Ravi Kumar, also suspended physical classes for classes six to nine. “Classes 10, 11 and 12th can continue in the existing mode. However, attendance to these classes in person is not mandatory,” it went on to state. Further, classes of higher and professional courses have been suspended except classes due for Board or University examinations and of Health Sciences.

As part of new restrictions, Karnataka has also prohibited rallies and dharnas (sit-in) in the state. Meanwhile, companies have been asked to stick to the work from home mode as far as possible.

In Bengaluru, Mysuru, Kalaburagi, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Bidar and Dharwad, the government asked cinema halls to follow alternative seating subject to a maximum of 50 per cent seating capacity. Pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants in these districts should not have people above 50 per cent capacity.

Shopping malls, departmental stores, pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants have been told to abide by the COVID protocol such as mandatory face masks, hand sanitisers and physical distancing should be followed strictly. “If there is any violation, the facility shall be closed till the COVID epidemic is over,” the order said.

The government directed police and the civic agencies to ensure strict compliance of the norms. The restrictions will be in force till April 20.

Here are the guidelines issued by the state government:

1. Classes 6 to 9 including Vidyagama shall be suspended. Classes 10, 11 &12 can continue in the existing mode. However, attendance to these classes in person is not mandatory.

2. Classes of higher & professional courses shall be suspended, except classes due for Board/University examinations and of Health Sciences.

3. Boarding schools and residential hostels shall be closed, except for the students of classes 10, 11, 12 and for students of higher and professional courses appearing in Board/University examination and Health Sciences.

4. In the places of worships individuals are permitted to visit and offer prayers only. There shall be no gatherings, functions, etc.

5. In Apartment complexes, the common facilities like gym, party hall, club house, swimming pool, etc shall remain closed.

6. Gym and Swimming Pools shall remain closed.

7. Rallies, dharnas, etc for any reason shall be prohibited.

8. Number of persons in public transport, shall not exceed the seating capacity.

9. The practice of work from home shall be followed in offices and work places as far as possible.

10. In Cinema Halls, alternate seating subject to a maximum of 50% seating capacity only shall be allowed in the districts of Bengaluru Urban & Rural including BBMP, Mysuru, Kalburgi, Dakshin Kannada, Udupi, Bidar and Dharwad. Strict COVID Appropriate Behavior (CAB) like ensuring wearing of masks, physical distancing, provision of hand sanitizer/hand wash shall be enforced.

11. In the districts of Bengaluru Urban & Rural including BBMP, Mysuru, Kalburgi, Dakshin Kannada, Udupi, Bidar and Hubali-Dharwad. number of customers in Pubs, bars, clubs, restaurants shall not exceed 50% of the capacity. Page 2 of 4 Scanned with CamScanner

12. Strict COVID Appropriate Behavior (CAB) like ensuring wearing of masks, physical distancing, provision of hand sanitizer/hand wash shall be enforced. If there is any violation in Pubs, bars, clubs, restaurants, the facility shall be closed till the covid epidemic is over.

13. In Shopping Malls, closed markets, departmental stores, etc strict enforcement of Covid Appropriate Behavior (CAB) like ensuring wearing of masks, physical distancing, provision of hand sanitizer/hand wash shall be enforced. If there is any violation, the facility shall be closed till the covid epidemic is over.

14. The restrictions on public gatherings and congregations during religious festivals and jathras/fairs shall continue

15. The number of persons permitted for different activities will continue as per the circular issued on 12-3-2021

16. The existing regulations/orders regarding wearing of masks and maintaining physical distancing in public places shall be strictly implemented by the Police authorities and local bodies.

In case any person is found violating the aforesaid instructions, the defaulting person(s) shall be proceeded against as per the provisions of section 51 to 60 of Disaster Management Act, 2005, Section 188 of IPC and Section 4, 5 and 10 of the Karnataka Epidemic Diseases Act, 2020.