(Eds: Adds details) Ahmedabad, May 18 (PTI) In a major relief to people affected due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown, the Gujarat government on Monday announced several relaxations, including opening of markets and shops in non-containment zones, from Tuesday.
While there will be no relaxations in thecontainment zones, shops and other commercial establishments in non- containment zone can remain open between 8 am and 4 pm, said Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.
The relaxations came even as the novel coronaviurs cases increased to 11,746 mark in Gujarat, while the deaths inched towards the 700-mark.
Rupani, in a video message, said business and commercial establishments need to follow 'odd-even' formula, wherein only 50 per cent establishments will remain open on any given day.
The government has also allowed reopening of barber shops, beauty parlors and salons in non-containment zones besides paan masala outlets.
Rupani said though paan shops will be allowed to open from May 19 only takeaways will be permitted. Also, spitting in public will attract a fine of Rs 200.
Restaurant and eateries can remain open for takeaway orders only, Rupani said, adding highway dhabas will be allowed to serve food maintaining social distance guidelines.
Rupani added that embroidery and diamond units in Surat can resume their work with 50 per cent staff.
Private offices with 33 per cent staff strength are allowed to resume from Tuesday in non-containment zones across the state, he said.
Major relaxations have been given in the transport sector also.
Cab, taxi and cab aggregators will be allowed to operate but only with two passengers, he said, adding private cars can also ply with three persons (including driver).
Two wheelers will be allowed but without pillion riders, the chief minister said.
Rupani also announced resumption of state transport bus services across Gujarat.
However, these buses will not be allowed to enter or leave from Ahmedabad, the worst-hit coronavirus district in Gujarat.
City bus service will also not be allowed in the entire state.
The government gave permission to start autorickshaw services from May 19 across the state, barring Ahmedabad and Surat, which account for a major chunk of the COVID-19 cases.
Containment zones are areas which are still reporting a large number of coronavirus cases. Non-containment zones are areas where less number of cases are emerging.
Gujarat has been divided into two zones instead of three zones like Red, Orange and Green done earlier.
In containment zones, only essential items like vegetables, milk and medicines will be made available between 8 am and 3 pm.
The Gujarat government has declared the entire eastern part of Ahmedabad city as containment zones.
Hence, no relaxations will be allowed in the eastern part like reopening of offices and shops selling non-essential items, Rupani said.
As per the Centre's guidelines, no movement of people or vehicles (except for essential activities) will be allowed across Gujarat between 7 pm and 7 am the next day, he said.
Rupani made it clear that schools, colleges, gardens, malls and gymnasiums will remain shut across the state to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Rupani said the relaxations will remain in effect till May 31, when the fourth round of the lockdown is slated to end.
Since wearing mask in public is compulsory, the state government has decided to sell masks at affordable rates at Amul milk parlours across Gujarat, he said. PTI PJT PD RSY RSY