Theaters and malls to operate at 50% capacity: TN Govt's new COVID-19 restrictions! Here's all you must know

As the sequel of the COVID-19 resurgence in the state, the Tamil Nadu government has brought back tight restrictions to the state to curb the spread. The government has on Thursday unveiled a fresh set of restrictions and guidelines with the view of limiting the crowds and the movements of people across the state. The fresh guidelines will be coming to effect on Saturday - April 10 and would likely be in place till the state witnesses the grounds of mitigation of the virus spread. 

The government has imposed these tight restrictions nearly after five months as the state has been recording a sharp rise in cases. Some of the restrictions that would come to place on April 10 include reducing the capacity of theaters from 100% to 50%, curbing unnecessary movements, restricting the cultural and religious events in the state, and limiting the footfall at shopping malls. The following are the restrictions that you should know, 

  • Vegetable stores, shopping malls, and all showrooms including textile and jewelry are ordered to accommodate only 50% of customers at a time by following the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). These establishments can function only till 11 pm and earlier, they were permitted to allow 100% of customers in their premises.
  • The government has ordered the eateries and tea shops to function only with 50% of occupancy till 11 pm from April 10. The hotels are permitted to carry out parcel services till 11 pm. The recreation clubs are also permitted to function with 50% of the customers. 
  •  The government has said that the marriage events will be allowed to function only with not more than 100 participants while funerals are permitted with 50 people by following the SOPs. The sporting events and games are allowed to conduct without the audiences while the swimming pools are permitted to function only for the purpose of training by adhering to the SOPs. 
  • The temples and places of worship are permitted to function till 8 pm from April 10 while they are banned from conducting functions like congregations and religious events at their premises. The government has allowed shooting for movies and soap operas to function by following the SOPs and the artists are advised to get tested for COVID-19 before taking part in the shoot. 
  • The retail stores and businesses in the Koyambedu market complex will be shut down from April 10. Last year, the government has closed the market after it has formed a cluster and shifted the retail businesses to Thirumalisai. The government has now ordered to close the retail corridors again in Koyambedu and in all the government-run market complexes in the state. 
  • The theaters and cinema halls in the malls are ordered to function with 50% occupancy from April 10 and it has become one of the significant restrictions from the government which has come as its bid to curb the spread. 
  • The theaters are currently functioning with 100% occupancy since last November and owing to the COVID-19 resurgence, the government has now limited the occupancy and the theaters are advised to ensure that their staff and audiences follow the guidelines. 
  • The government has permitted only two people to ply in auto-rickshaws from April 10 in the state and the people who are traveling to Tamil Nadu from other states and countries are mandated to get an e-pass prior to their arrival. The containment zones in Tamil Nadu will go through complete lockdown without any relaxations. 
  • Social, political, educational, entertainment, sports, and cultural events will be allowed to function indoors with not more than 200 participants by following the SOPs from April 10. The government has said that the review teams will be installed in every zone in Chennai to review and monitor the on-ground situations and such teams will also be set up across all the districts. 

The government further stated that the containment zones in the state will be under surveillance of the police department, local administrations, and health officials to ensure that no one will exit the zone unnecessarily. Volunteers will be deployed to distribute the basic and essential items to the people living in the containment zones. In its release, the government said that appropriate orders have been issued to the officials to carry out fever camps and effective contact tracing and it has further appealed to the people to follow the guidelines of wearing masks and observing social distancing. 

The government has also asked people above 45 years of age to receive COVID-19 vaccines either in private or in government facilities within two weeks and added that the restrictions would be in place until April 30, 2021. According to reports, the announcement of the lockdown with new restrictions has come two days after the state assembly polls and amid speculations of re-enforcing the lockdown again. 

Tamil Nadu is one of the Indian states to report a high caseload and the number of COVID-19 cases is increasing day by day. According to the state health department, Tamil Nadu has reported 9,11,110 COVID-19 cases so far as of Wednesday of which 27,743 are active, 8,70,546 have been discharged, and 12, 821 had succumbed to the viral infection. On Wednesday alone, the state has reported 3,986 fresh cases, 1,824 discharges, and 17 deaths.