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Govt extends lockdown with minor relaxations till 8 Jun

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By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 31 May: The Uttarakhand Government, despite mulling beginning unlock of the ongoing Covid ‘curfew’, has finally shied away from providing major relief. Instead, the lockdown has been extended till 6 a.m. on 8 June.

Some minor relaxations like opening of stationery shops and grocery stores have been permitted twice in the week, now, on 1 June and 5 June. Of course, there has been a regular decline in the number of fresh cases per day in Uttarakhand to well below 2,000 but, according to the sources, the government is still concerned with the Corona situation in the hills and, therefore, decided to be cautious and extend the curfew till 8 June.
This is despite pressure on the government from the traders to permit opening of shops and that too till 5 p.m. Now, it seems that the traders will have to wait till 8 June for the phased unlock to begin.
Later in the evening, formal orders were also issued by Chief Secretary Om Prakash in this regard. Briefing the media, Cabinet Minister and Government spokesman Subodh Uniyal said that the Corona curfew had been extended till 8 June in Uttarakhand. Now, shops of essential commodities would open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. On the other hand, grocery stores would open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on 1 June and then on 5 June. The stationery shops would also open on 1 June, Uniyal confirmed. He added that, in partial modification of the earlier orders, the shops selling fruits and vegetable, meat, fish and poultry, as well as dairy and bakery products units in the state would now be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day. These shops were being allowed to open till 11 a.m. only. To allow people to shop for their grocery requirements on 1 and 5 June, when the grocery shops would open, there would also be relaxation on persons’ and vehicular movement.
In addition, during the lockdown phase announced till 8 June, construction activity would be permitted and the shops selling construction material would also be permitted to open till 1 p.m. Agriculture activities too remain permitted and the traders selling seeds and other agriculture inputs such as fertilisers, pesticides, etc., also have been permitted to open so that the agriculture activity could go on. Liquor shops, electric goods and shops of several other essential commodities would remain closed as per the existing orders. Schools, colleges and universities remain closed. Offices remain closed although government offices and banks are permitted to open with the condition of adherence to SOPs like social distancing and limited attendance of the staff. Essential public services will continue however in a normal manner.
The restrictions on interstate movement have continued as per the fresh orders issued by the Chief Secretary. Those coming to Uttarakhand from other states will have to carry a negative RTPCR report with them issued within the past 72 hours of travel and, besides this, they would also be required to register themselves on http://smartcitydehradun.uk.gov.in before coming to the state. Restrictions on the number of persons who can attend marriage functions or funerals continue to be 20. The order issues the advisory that marriages should be avoided as far as possible during the lockdown. Migrants coming to their native villages from outside the state will be required to quarantine themselves for 7 days in the isolation facility of the village concerned. This is required to be ensured by the respective Gram Pradhans.
It may be recalled that this is the fourth phase of the ongoing Covid lockdown in the state amid the current second wave of Corona. It may further be recalled that in view of increasing cases of corona infection in the state, the government had imposed the first phase of Covid curfew on 10 May from 1 p.m. to 18 May. In the second phase, the lockdown was extended till six o’clock in the morning of 25 May. In the third phase, this period was extended till 6 a.m. on 1 June.