Shops in Delhi markets to open on odd-even basis; buses, cabs to run with restrictions: Kejriwal

New Delhi, May 18 (PTI) Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday announced opening of shops in markets on an odd-even basis and running of buses with 20 passengers but said Metro services, schools, colleges, cinema halls and saloons will remain closed till May 31.

'We have to gradually move towards opening the economy. We used the lockdown period to make preparations to deal with COVID-19. The penance done by Delhiites in the last one and a half months will not go waste,' the chief minister said at an online media briefing.

'Coronavirus will remain, but life will also have to go on. We cannot have a lockdown permanently,' he said.

All kinds of shops will be allowed to open in the national capital. Restaurants can open for home-delivery and takeaways but dining facilities will not be permitted, the chief minister said.

'Shops in markets will open on odd-even basis. Stand-alone shops, neighbourhood shops and shops in residential complex will remain open,' he said.

'If social distancing is not maintained by a shopkeeper, his or her shop will be closed by the authorities,' Kejriwal warned.

Wearing masks and following social distancing norms are mandatory in the city, the chief minister said.

No activity will, however, be permitted in containment zones, except for essential services, he said.

Kejriwal said people boarding buses in the city will have to be screened first and all four-wheeler vehicles, including taxis, will be allowed with only two passengers.

'In a bus, only 20 passengers will be allowed to travel. The Transport Department will have the responsibility to maintain social distancing during travel and at bus stops,' he said.

The chief minister said drivers of taxis, auto rickshaws and cabs will have to disinfect the sitting area of passengers after every trip. Maxi cabs can ply with five passengers and RTVs with 11, he added.

Car-sharing and car-pooling will, however, not be allowed by cab aggregators in the city, Kejriwal said, adding that two-wheelers will be permitted but no pillion riders.

'All government and private offices have been permitted to operate with their entire staff. But, private offices should try to work from home,' he said.

Construction activities are permitted but labourers residing in Delhi will only be allowed to work there, the chief minister said.

Industries can operate but with staggered timings, he said, adding that trucks will be allowed to ply in Delhi.

Religious, social and political gatherings are barred in the city till May 31, the chief minister said.

A total of 50 people can attend marriage functions and 20 people can take part in funerals, he said.

The chief minister said sports complexes and stadiums were permitted to function but no spectators would be allowed.

Malls, shopping complexes, gymnasiums, entertainment parks, auditoriums and bars will remain closed, he said.

Movement of people between 7 pm and 7 am are prohibited. Also, movement of people above 65 years of age, those with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below 10 are not allowed, he said.

Kejriwal added that the activities have been allowed in accordance with guidelines issued by the Centre.

On Sunday, the Centre extended the coronavirus-triggered lockdown in the country till May 31 while giving more relaxations. PTI BUN IJT