The Tamil Nadu Government on Friday announced total shutdown, loosely called curfew, in Chennai and four other districts from coming Sunday despite the fact that the entire State is already under lockdown till May 3.
It said the complete shutdown would be in force from 6 a.m. on Sunday till 9 pm. on Wednesday in Chennai, Madurai and Coimbatore . It would be in force from the morning of Sunday, till Tuesday night in Salem and Tirupur. These are all in the red zone which have a high incidence of Covid cases.
Under the current regulation, people are allowed to come out from morning till 1 p.m. to buy essentials like vegetables, fruits and medicines.
Those in districts like Chennai will not be allowed to come out for any reason during the so-called curfew period .
The Government said the regulations would be strictly enforced and stringent action would be taken against violators of the shutdown.
It said essential services like electricity, water and milk supply and hospital and pharmacies as also testing labs would be allowed to function. Besides ambulances and mortuary vans would also be allowed to run.
Likewise Government offices like the State Secretariat, police, health and revenue departments and water supply board would function.
It said Central Government offices would also be open as also banks with one-third staff along with ATMS attached to them.
However, it put curbs on vegetables shops around cities. It said only wholesale vegetable market in Koyambedu in Chennai and similar mandis in other corporations would be allowed to function with restrictions.
It said vegetables and fruits would be allowed to be supplied in push carts by vendors. The idea in disallowing sale of vegetables and fruits in shops or in malls is to avoid crowding.
In a move to protect the poor, the Government said Amma canteens in these four corporations would be open and they would serve food at subsidised rates.
The Government also exempted old age homes and orphanages and NGOs engaged in catering to them.
It said community kitchens in districts would continue to provide food to the destitute.
To take care of the middle class stuck at home, it said online caterers like Swiggy will be allowed to take orders and supply food at doorsteps.
The Government said IT firms can continue to function but their staff should work from home. Other private companies would not be allowed to reopen.
These measures have been put in place in big cities like Chennai and Coimbatore as they account for over half of the incidence of over 1,600 covid cases reported so far in the State.
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami said these regulations and isolation would be strictly enforced in containment zones, also called red zones, to check further spread of the virus through interaction.