Green light to metro, malls, markets as Delhi ‘unlocks’

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With new COVID-19 cases on the decline in the Capital, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday announced new relaxations, including resumption of metro services with 50% capacity and reopening of malls and markets on odd-even basis from June 7 (Monday).

Liquor vends and neighbourhood shops are set to become operational once again as part of the city’s unlocking process. Private offices will be allowed to function with 50% staff while those working in essential services can work at 100% capacity. Cinemas and theatres, bars, gyms, spas, barber shops and beauty parlours will, however, continue to remain shut; restaurants have been allowed to be in operation but can only provide home deliveries and takeaway services.

“The COVID-19 situation in Delhi appears to be improving and keeping that in mind we began the unlock procedure last week. It is necessary to bring the economy back on track if the COVID situation begins to get better. Last week, we opened up the construction and factory sectors,” Mr. Kejriwal said in a digital briefing.

“In the last 24 hours, only 400 cases have emerged. The infection rate has come down to 0.5%. The situation appears to be under control and by God’s grace should continue to remain under control,” he said.

Odd-even opening

The lockdown extension announced last week, he said, will be applicable till 5 a.m. on Monday, following which all markets and malls will open on an odd-even basis — 50% of shops will be operational on one day and the other 50% the following day — from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

In all government offices in Delhi, 100% of Group A officers will have to work while those junior to them will work at a capacity of 50%. Those working in essential services will work at 100% capacity with the final decision in this regard in the hands of their heads of department. Private offices can reopen at 50% capacity. The CM said efforts should be made to ensure that more people work from home and work hours should be staggered so that not everyone has to come out at the same time.

“The Delhi Metro will become operational with 50% capacity and e-commerce based selling process will continue to operate. I hope that if in the upcoming week the coronavirus situation remains under control, more such activities can be opened up,” he added.

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This article was originally published on The Hindu