Ahmedabad: The Gujarat government on Thursday announced lifting of night curfew from 18 towns and relaxing its timing in the same number of urban centres by one hour even as it allowed cinema halls, multiplexes and auditoriums to function at 50 per cent capacity in view of a sharp drop in new COVID-19 cases.
A decision to ease more curbs, effective from Sunday, was taken at a meeting of the government’s core committee on COVID-19. Among a slew of relaxations in restrictions imposed earlier to curb COVID-19 cases, the government allowed opening of cinema halls, multiplexes and auditoriums at 50 per cent capacity, permitted shops to do business till 9 pm instead of 7 pm and allowed buses to ply at 75 per cent of their seating capacity, an official release said.
The core committee, headed by chief minister Vijay Rupani, also directed that all those involved in vocational activities must get vaccinated by July 10, it said.
These relaxations will come into force from Sunday and will remain in force they are revised, the release said.
At present, night curfew is in force from 9 pm to 6 am in 36 cities, including four big cities of Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot.
The government has decided that apart from Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot, night curfew will continue in Jamnagar, Bhavnagar, Junagadh, Gandhinagar, Vapi, Ankleshwar, Valsad, Navsari, Mehasana, Bharuch, Patan, Morbi, Bhuj and Gandhidham (for one more week), the release said. However, the curfew timing will be from 10 pm to 6 am in these 18 cities and towns instead of 9 pm to 6 am earlier, giving one hour relaxation.
In these 18 cities and towns, the state government has made it compulsory for those involved in vocational activities to get themselves, and also their staff, vaccinated against COVID-19 by June 30, the release said. In another 18 towns, night curfew will be lifted from Sunday, it said. Those involved in vocational activities in other parts of the state will have to get themselves vaccinated, along with their staff, by July 10, it said.
Shops and business establishments, which are currently allowed to work till 7 pm, will be permitted to remain open till 9 pm in 18 cities where night curfew has been extended for a week, the release said. Restaurants and hotels will be allowed dine-in facilities with 60 per cent capacity till 9 pm instead of 7 pm now and can deliver food till midnight, it said.
Libraries can open with 60 per cent capacity, while parks and gardens can remain open till 9 pm instead of 7 pm now, the government said in the release.
Religious and political functions, which were banned till now, can be organised at 50 per cent capacity of the venue where they are held. However, the maximum participation has been capped at 200 people, it said. At marriage functions, the number of participants will be 100 now instead of 50 earlier, while for funerals it will be 40 people instead of 25, the release said.
For public transport, buses can carry 60 per cent of their passenger capacity and they will be allowed to operate during night curfew in 18 cities, it said. Fresh restrictions were imposed in Gujarat in April in view of the deadly second wave of coronavirus. The daily number of coronavirus cases has dropped below 300 this week. On Thursday, Gujarat registered 129 new COVID-19 cases and just two deaths, the Health Department said.