The E Palaniswami-led administration in Tamil Nadu has announced a slew of relaxations amid the third phase of lockdown despite the rising number of cases. Starting Monday, all vegetable and provision stores can remain open from 6 am to 7 pm whereas all standalone shops have also been allowed to open between 10:30 am and 6 pm. However, standalone shops in all districts except Chennai can remain open till 7 pm. The government has also stated that these relaxations shall not be applicable in containment zones.
Eateries have also been allowed to open from 6 am to 7 pm with dining in being restricted. Takeaways have been permitted and the government has instructed to maintain proper hygiene. While state and national highway petrol bunks can function 24*7, city petrol pumps have been restricted between 6 am to 6 pm.
"All the private companies which fall under Chennai can operate from 10 am to 6 pm with 33% of the labour force and from 10 am to 7 pm in other districts with 33% workforce," the state government announced.
While announcing these relaxations, the government has reiterated that social distancing guidelines must be strictly followed. Regular disinfection of shops and establishments must also take place, the government said.
The Tamil Nadu administration also continues to battle with the rising number of cases. Koyambedu market has emerged as hotspot impacting the state's battle as a cluster of cases linked to the wholesale market have been reported. As per the State Health Department's bulletin on Friday, with 600 cases in the past 24 hours, 6,009 people have now tested positive till date while 1,605 have recovered. As of Friday, there are 4,361 active cases under treatment. Total of 1,589 cases linked to the Koyambedu market have been reported to date. Meanwhile, Chief Minister E. Palaniswami has informed that a temporary vegetable market is being set up at Tirumazhisai for the time being.
In a bid to reopen the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation Limited (TASMAC) liquor shops, the Tamil Nadu government, on Saturday, has moved the Supreme Court challenging the Madras High Court's order closing the shops. Earlier on Friday, the Madras High Court ordered the closure of all TASMAC liquor shops after petitioners pointed out overcrowding and violation of social distancing norms at these places. The court has allowed online sales of liquor.