TN Govt extends lockdown till Oct 31: CM EPS announces fresh relaxations! What you must know?

Exactly a day ahead of the deadline of the current phase of the lockdown, the Tamil Nadu government has extended the lockdown in the state till October 31 with additional relaxations to the existing pack of having a gradual exit from the lockdown and restrictions amid fighting the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The fresh lockdown would be the eighth phase for the state and would come to effect from Oct 1. Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami has on Tuesday issued a press release in which he announced the fresh relaxations in the state during the next phase with the view of reviving the economy while ensuring that the state doesn't lose its grip on containing the spread of the pandemic. According to the press release, apart from the containment zones, the following services can continue to operate in the rest of the areas with the existing relaxations, 

  • Tea shops, hotels, and eateries across the state, apart from the containment zones, are permitted to function from 6 am to 9 pm by adhering to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) issued by the government. The hotels are allowed to offer parcel services till 10 pm. Earlier, these establishments can offer parcel services only till 9 pm. 
  • In a relief to the ground-level workers of the movie industry, the government has permitted the industry to resume the movie shootings as per the SOP and the government has allowed the shootings with not more than 100 people at the same time whereas it has barred the grounds for visitors. 
  • Government and government-affiliated training institutions can resume its operations by adhering to the SOP released by the government. 
  • Weekly vegetable markets in towns and panchayats are permitted to function from Oct 1 as per the operating procedures to curb the spread of the viral infection. 

General restrictions: 

  • Curfew under section 144 of CrPC would be in place across the state and it prohibits the unnecessary assembly of five or more people at public places. 
  • Containment zones in the state would have no relaxations and the existing restrictions and guidelines would play its role in these zones till October 31. 

The following services will be banned until further orders:

  • Schools, colleges, research centers, and other educational institutions would be banned from resumption until further orders. The government has prolonged the ban on these establishments, which remain closed for the past seven months. 
  • Amid speculations on re-opening the theaters, the government has said that it's not the right time for resuming the theaters as it hasn't permitted the resumption of the theaters, cinema halls, beaches, amusement parks, tourist places, swimming pools, and the places that attract a large number of people gathering.
  • Ban on the international air-travel would continue, except for the flights that are allowed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. The government hasn't permitted the resumption of the suburban trains. 
  • Ban on the religious, cultural, social, entertainment, political, and other events would be in place until further order. 

In what has become one of the important announcements, the government has overruled its earlier decision of resuming schools for classes 10, 11, and 12 on a voluntary basis. On September 24, the government said that the classes for the students who belong to these three grades would resume on October 1 and the students would be permitted on a voluntary basis to go to school for taking guidance from their teachers. The government has also issued the SOP for the students and teachers to follow in the premises. 

However, the Chief Minister, through the fresh guidelines, said the government order (GO) that was passed in permitting the students to physically attending the classes has now been canceled based on the suggestion of the medical professionals, teachers, and students. The Chief Minister further added that the government will hold a consultation with the officials and stakeholders and would decide further. 

Through the announcement, it can be learned that schools and colleges would remain shut and the students can continue studying online. Through the press release, the Chief Minister had appealed the people to wear facemasks and follow the guidelines issued by the government in the public places and he also instructed the people to refrain from exiting unnecessarily and asked to be co-operative to the government in containing the spread of the pandemic in the state.

By stating that the infection rate in the state has declined in September amid the large-scale relaxations, the Chief Minister asserted that the government has been implementing intense efforts and containment measures to curb the spread. According to reports, the government had poured major relaxations in the current and the next phases of the lockdown as part of the Center's process of unlocking the lockdown. The state government has resumed the transportation channels, repealed the e-pass system for intra-state travels, and permitted the resumptions of major services like shopping malls, temples, and metro trains as the state has been returning to the pre-COVID-19 world. 

As of Tuesday -September 29, Tamil Nadu has reported 5,91,943 positive cases so far of which 46,281 are active, 5,36,209 have been recovered, and 9,453 had succumbed to the viral infection.