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Tamil Nadu eases lockdown restrictions in non-containment zones from Monday

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Chennai, May 09: Tamil Nadu government has announced some relaxations in the Coronavirus lockdown in non-containment zones from May 11.

The extension includes working hours of standalone and neighbourhood shops and allowing private establishments to function with a reduced number of employees on the premises.

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The government also extended the timings for groceries and vegetable shops from the present 5 pm till 7 pm, effective Monday, throughout Tamil Nadu. These outlets can start work from 6 am as usual.

As regards standalone and neighbourhood shops in Chennai, they can function from 10.30 am till 6 pm as against the present cut off time of 5 pm, an official release here said. In all other parts of the state, these categories of shops can be open between 10 am and 7 pm.

In Chennai city and suburbs, all private sector companies can resume work and operate between 10.30 am and 6 pm. In the rest of Tamil Nadu, the firms can work from 10 am to 7 pm.

However, the workforce shall be confined to 33 per cent of the strength, the government said.

As regards tea stalls, the government said they can work from 6 am to 7 pm. However, only take away services are allowed and people cannot congregate in the shops and social distancing must be maintained.

The outlets should be sanitised five times a day and to avoid crowding, people must not be allowed to consume beverages inside the shops. "If the norms are not followed the tea shops will be closed down immediately," the government said.

Petrol pumps in Chennai can work between 6 am and 6 pm and in rest of Tamil Nadu from 6 am till 8 pm, and 24 x 7 in national and state highways District Collectors, top officials of civic bodies and the police department have been asked to ensure compliance of norms like individual distancing, sanitisation and full adherence to Standard Operation Procedures.

SOP includes maintaining individual distancing, carrying out disinfection work and trimming the workforce to 33 per cent to ensure a safe work ambience for employees.

However, the government reiterated that social distancing guidelines must be strictly followed at all times.

Tamil Nadu has reported over 6,000 COVID-19 cases and 68 deaths so far. Across India the number of confirmed cases is inching towards 60,000, with 1,981 deaths linked to the virus.

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