The Telangana government on Monday decided to relax many restrictions in the state and said that things can return to normal as long as guidelines to curb the spread of COVID-19 were followed. However, the night curfew from 7 pm to 6 am will also remain in place.
As part of this, all e-commerce activities are now allowed. However, there is no clarity on whether this includes food delivery, which was banned across the state last month. Barbershops and salons can also open.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the Telangana cabinet, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao announced, "All areas in the state, except containment zones in Hyderabad, are being declared as green zones by the state government."
The CM said that at present,1,452 families were living in containment zones, mostly in Hyderabad.
Stating that life has to go on and people have to 'learn to live with coronavirus', KCR added, "All shops can open across the state and business can resume in the districts. In Hyderabad, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) will issue specific instructions. Alternate shops can open based on a system and everyone will get their chance. Everything will remain closed in containment zones."
The state government said that the Road Transport Corporation (RTC) buses will also begin operating from Tuesday morning. Speaking about the decision to resume RTC services, the Chief Minister said that buses would still not be allowed to operate in Hyderabad, and inter-state services will also remain unavailable. Masks would be made compulsory for RTC staff and the passengers and sanitisers would be provided as people board the bus.
Buses will be allowed to enter the city and end their trip at Jubilee Bus Stand (JBS) in Secunderabad but will not be alowed to travel to the Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station (MGBS) in Imlibun, as more cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the areas surrounding it in Hyderabad.
In another major announcement, KCR said, "Autos and taxis can start in Hyderabad. In taxis and cars only three people will be allowed besides the driver, while in autos, only two members will be allowed to board the vehicle besides the driver."
"All private companies and government departments can resume their work with full staff and factories can also start operations. The only rule is that the guidelines should be strictly followed or else we will take strict action," he added.
Those not wearing masks while stepping outside would be fined Rs 1,000 and senior citizens aged above 65 have been advised to remain indoors and only step out for essentials.
The Chief Minister also said that function halls, cinema halls, malls, religious gatherings, public congregations, educational institutions, bars, pubs, clubs, sporting grounds, swimming pools, gyms and parks will remain closed. The Hyderabad Metro Rail will also remain shut.
"These are the instructions that will remain in place till May 31. We will review the situation again before the lockdown ends," KCR said.