Thiruvananthapuram: The Centre has announced a slew of COVID-19 lockdown relaxations with the Unlock 4.0 that will come into effect from September 21. Though the Chief Secretary had said that the Centre’s guidelines will be implemented in Kerala too, there is a lack of clarity over some matters.
The General Administration Department has recommended that shops and retail outlets in the state be allowed to remain open till 10 pm instead of 7 pm. Allowing shops, other than those in containment zones, to function till 10 pm is expected to reduce the crowds. A meeting to be chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is likely to take a call on this next week.
There are also complaints that the police are arbitrarily deciding on the shop timings at various places.
Hotels and bakeries are allowed to function till 9 pm now. Though the dine-in facility is allowed at the restaurants, bars are not allowed to open. Even the last cabinet meet did not discuss the reopening of bars. A decision is likely to be made soon.
The schools will remain shut. But students from class 11 and 12 will be allowed to go to schools, for seeking guidance from teachers, the Centre's order has said. However, this will not be implemented in Kerala.
But even Union Ministers have raised concerns of COVID-19 spread when class 11 and 12 students turn up at schools en masse. So, a final decision on this would be taken later.
About 50 percent of the teachers and staff have the Centre's permission to go to schools for online classes.
As the SAY (Save a Year) exams will be held from next week, teachers and the students will have to go to the schools for the exam.
Political, social, cultural, and religious events can be held from September 21 with up to 100 people. Also, academic and sports programmes can also be held, while following the COVID-19 protocol. Open-air theatres can also function from September 21.