By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 20 Jan: The Uttarakhand Government has extended the Covid curfew till the morning of 29 June, albeit with several relaxations. The biggest relaxation comes for the hoteliers, restaurant and bars owners, as they have been permitted to open shop. Although, most other SOPs, especially regarding the restrictions, will continue till the morning of 29 June, the fresh Covid curfew extension is the beginning of the unlock process as the count of fresh cases continues to show a decline. This was stated by Cabinet Minister and Government Spokesperson Subodh Uniyal, here, today.
Uniyal announced that the bars, hotels and restaurants had been allowed to open from 22 June with the condition that they operate at 50 percent capacity and from 6 a.m. till 10 p.m. every day. Uniyal added that most traders including the general stores, other shops and commercial establishments had been allowed to open for 5 days, every week, and from morning till 5 pm only. Earlier, they had been permitted to open for 3 days a week. The official notification would soon be issued by the Chief Secretary in this regard. Swimming pools, cinema theatres, auditoriums, gymnasiums and shopping malls would however remain closed.
Another major relaxation that has been given for the upcoming week, beginning next Tuesday, is that all government, semi-government and private offices have also been permitted to open albeit with fifty percent staff attendance. However, all the offices dealing in essential services have been allowed to function with hundred percent capacity beginning 22 June.
Uniyal added that, from 1 July, residents of Uttarkashi district had been allowed to undertake Yatra of Gangotri and Yamunotri temples, residents of Rudraprayag had been allowed to undertake Yatra of Kedarnath temple, while residents of Chamoli districts had been allowed to undertake Yatra of Badrinath Shrine. He added that, from 11 July, the Char Dham Yatra would be thrown open for Uttarakhand residents from across the state. However, for this, a negative RTPC or Rapid Test report issued within the past 72 hours would be mandatory in order to be permitted for the Char Dham Yatra.
It may be recalled that the current period of curfew applied in the state is ending at 6 a.m. on 22 June. Now that the fresh Corona cases have decreased significantly, there is a growing demand for unlock. However, the government has chosen to tread carefully and decided to remain strict with the SOP protocols that are already in force. It has so far not allowed opening of the Char Dham Yatra for people from other states and the schools and colleges would also remain closed for the students till further orders. Universities and colleges can however call the teachers to the campus and begin with online classes as well as prepare for offline classes.
By Arun Pratap Singh