Lockdown 6.0 in Tamil Nadu: What's permitted and prohibited?

Hours after the meeting with the medical experts' committee on discussing the road ahead for the state in its fight against the Coronavirus pandemic, the Tamil Nadu state government has announced on Monday that the statewide lockdown has been extended till July 31st with some relaxations. 

According to the press release issued by the state government, Chennai, the areas in Kancheepuram, Thiruvallur, Chengalpattu that fall under the jurisdiction of Greater Chennai Police, and Madurai district will be under the ambit of the complete lockdown till July 5 and these five districts would go under the enhanced lockdown till July 5 like how it had been through for 12 days from June 19 to 30.  

In the press release, the government said that the ban and restrictions on the shopping malls, schools, colleges, training, and other educational institutions, places of worship, all religious gatherings, tourists spots, recreational centers like theaters, gyms, bars, beaches, and all forms of events, metro rails and electric train services, hotels, resorts, and other guest accommodations will be in place till July 31. 

What's permitted in Chennai:

Chennai and its adjacent districts would see some relaxations from July 6, after exiting from the complete lockdown which would be in place till July 5. These districts would see the functioning of the services mentioned below from July 6,

  • All shops, apart from shopping malls, can operate with 50% of the manpower. Shops are barred from using ACs and only five customers must be allowed inside the shop at one time. 
  • Restaurants in these areas can function by offering 50% of the dining services and they should not use ACs. Earlier in the fifth phase of the lockdown, restaurants had similar restrictions and in the wake of the 12 days enhanced lockdown, the hotels were barred to offer the dining services. 
  • Cabs and taxis can operate with three passengers apart from the driver while autos can operate with two passengers in a ride. From July 6, salons and barbershops in these areas can resume the services with accord to the guidelines and advisories issued by the government and the government has also allowed the resumption of fish and meat stalls and these shops have been directed to maintain social distancing norms.
  • All IT, export, and private companies in these districts can function with 50% of the manpower. 
  • All the essential and emergency services will be permitted to operate in Chennai and its adjacent districts with the existing norms and the above services will be barred in the areas of these districts that are marked as containment zones and along with that, the government has also restricted the functioning of non-essential services and prohibited the unnecessary movements of people.

What's permitted in the rest of Tamil Nadu:

According to the press release, the following services will be allowed in the rest of Tamil Nadu from July 1-Wednesday and from July 6 in Kancheepuram, Thiruvallur, Chengalpattu, and Madurai.

  • Small places of worship in rural areas that have annual revenue of not more than Rs 10,000 - including temples, churches, and mosques, will be allowed to resume and to permit devotees by following the social distancing protocols. However, the places of worship in urban areas will remain prohibited. 
  • Tea shops, vegetable, and grocery stores, restaurants can function from 6 am to 8 pm in the above areas and the TASMAC liquor shops will also be functioning from 10 am to 8 pm. Tea shops are directed to permit 50% of the seating capacity.
  • Private offices, IT companies, and export companies have been permitted to function with 100% employees and e-commerce companies have been allowed to operate and they can also transport non-essential goods. 
  • The state has still been imposed with curfew under Section 144 and crowds of more than five persons in public places have been restricted. Restaurants in these areas can function by offering 50% of the dining services and they should not use ACs.
  • All shops, apart from shopping malls, can operate with 50% of the manpower. Shops are barred from using ACs and only five customers must be allowed inside the shop at one time. 

What would be under complete lockdown across the state:

  • According to the state government's order, not more than 50 people are allowed at wedding functions and not more than 50 people are allowed at funerals.
  • Inter-district travels have been barred and people should avail e-pass for moving between districts. E-pass will be provided for extremely emergency purposes. However, no e-pass would be required for intra-district travels.
  • Public transports and private vehicles withing and between the districts will be prohibited from July 1 to July 15. No government buses would ply within the districts till July 15.
  • All Sundays in July would go under complete lockdown - July 5, 12, 19, and 26 would be under the full lockdown across the state of Tamil Nadu.
  • The government stated that the e-pass that has been acquired in the areas that are under complete lockdown till July 5 would be extended automatically. Thereby, people who have obtained e-pass from these areas aren't required to apply for the new one.

The deadline for the current phase of the lockdown would be coming to an end by June 30 and the state would be mapped with the sixth phase of the lockdown from July 1st to 31st to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, which has been spreading rapidly in the state.  On Monday, the medical experts' committee hasn't recommended the state government to extend the lockdown completely for all the districts.

The experts' advised the government to keep tight restrictions in the areas that have reported peaking COVID-19 cases to curb the spread. However, the state government has imposed the lockdown across the state for yet another month with providing fewer relaxations after most of the districts have been reporting an exponential rise of COVID-19 cases. The lockdown extension has come when the government has been eyeing to unlock the restrictions to have a gradual exit from the unprecedented experiment.