Police crackdowns on commercial shops have been reported in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Hubbali, Belagavi and other districts

A police official during a lockdown in Bengaluru's city marketImage for representation | PTI
Coronavirus COVID-19 Thursday, April 22, 2021 - 17:29

The Karnataka police – in Bengaluru and other districts – are shutting down shops that do not deal in essential services. This comes after Chief Secretary Ravi Kumar on Wednesday night issued a clarification and published detailed guidelines as to what services can function on weekdays.

According to the guidelines, “Shops, including ration shops (PDS), dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, meat and fish, animal fodder are permitted”. It also says that restaurants, liquor shops and bars can only do take-aways. All food processing and related industries, banks, insurance offices, ATMs, cold storage and warehousing services, construction material shops and delivery of all items through E-Commerce is permitted. The order also says that barber shops, salons and beauty parlours can function adhering to COVID-19 restrictions.

The order says that all industries, industrial establishments and production units can also function adhering to restrictions. Private offices have been asked to work with minimum staff, while 50% staff is allowed in government offices. Since the order clearly says that all other shops and commercial establishments other than the list mentioned above are not allowed, police have started shutting them down.

A video from Raichur which is circulating on social media shows the district collector and the police ushering people on to the roads and asking them to shutter their establishments, if they did not fall under the essential items category. This means that non essential shops like footwear,mobile, hardware, clothes etc will not be allowed to function till May 4. The government has not restricted movement of citizens, but has said that unnecessary travel in private vehicles should be avoided.

According to sources, the police have cracked down on commercial establishments in Bengaluru, Hubballi, Belagavi, Tumakuru, Mysuru, among other districts.

Two Police Commissioners TNM spoke to confirmed that they were shutting down non-essential shops as the order mandated so. In districts like Shivamogga, shopkeepers were told to shut their establishments by 3.30 pm.

Karnataka, especially Bengaluru, has been severely hit by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Wednesday, the state Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said that the state was facing an  “unprecedented situation” and ordered for 2000 more beds to be arranged in Bengaluru’s Intensive Care Units. 

Sudhakar said that private hospitals have to reserve 50% of their general bed capacity as well as 50% of the beds in Intensive Care Units and those with ventilators attached. 

The Health Minister’s announcement came on the same day that Karnataka witnessed the single largest spike in COVID-19 cases - reporting 23,558 new cases and 116 deaths.

The state has also asked the Centre to supply 1,500 metric tonnes of liquid medical oxygen daily to overcome shortage of supply. 

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