The Tamil Nadu government on Sunday announced new restrictions in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases. Beginning April 20, Tuesday, Tamil Nadu will once again see night curfew between 10 pm and 4 am every day. The state has also brought back Sunday lockdown that was in place during the peak of the pandemic last year.
During the night curfew, private and public transportation, taxis and autos will not be allowed to ply. Transportation from outside the state and between districts will not be allowed to function when night curfew is in place. Persons driving only for emergencies will be allowed during curfew. Essential services like milk and newspaper deliveries, hospitals and diagnostic centres, pharmacies, ambulance, and vehicles transporting petrol, diesel, LPG will be exempted from night curfew timings. Journalists, petrol bunks, continuous process industries and industries producing essentials will be allowed to work irrespective of curfew timing. Persons whose work timings fall in the night too can be allowed to go to their place of work by producing required ID.
On Sunday, during full lockdown, meat shops,fish markets, vegetable shops, cinema theatres, commercial establishments and all shops should remain closed. However, essential services listed above will be allowed on Sundays as well. As for restaurants and hotels, timings will be restricted to 6 am to 10 am, 12 pm to 3 pm and 6 pm to 9 pm on Sundays. Only delivery services will be allowed and service providers such as Swiggy and Zomato can function during the said time. Other e-commerce platforms are not permitted to function during Sundays.
Board exams for standard 12 students in the state have been postponed, however the practical exams will be conducted as already planned. All classes for college students must be conducted online. Summer camps will not be allowed.
All beaches across the state are now out of bounds for the public. Tourism to Ooty, Kodaikanal and Yercaud is no longer allowed. Public will also not be allowed to museums, parks, zoos, and ASI sites on any given day.
Public and private buses between districts will take in passengers after checking their temperature and will also ensure they have their face masks on. Crowding too should be avoided. All IT and IT service related companies have been advised to istruct 50% of its workforce to work from home.
Tea shops, malls, restaurants, big format stores, grocery shops, vegetable shops etc can only allow 50% occupancy and stay open only upto 9 pm daily. No more than 100 persons allowed in weddings and as for funerals the number stands at 50. Theatres can continue to function with 50% occupancy. Any establishment that goes beyond 50% occupancy at any given point will be subject to strict action.
Health department will look at the possibility of turning willing hotels into COVID Care Centres
The new restrictions come hours after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami chaired a meeting with senior officials to review the COVID-19 situation in the state. As of April 17, Tamil Nadu reported 65,635 active COVID-19 cases. Chennai has recorded a bulk of the infections, with 23,625 active COVID-19 cases.