Virtually all government-related COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted in Kerala from September 23. An order issued on Tuesday said that all government offices, including public sector units and other autonomous bodies, would function with 100 percent attendance.
Quarantine period for those returning from a visit to other states and those coming from outside has been halved, to seven days. A 14-day quarantine is no more mandatory, only desirable.
Another big shot for normalcy would be the opening of hotel and restaurant doors for in-house dining. This is expected to boost a sagging service economy, and revive jobs. Till now, only parcel service was allowed in hotels and restaurants.
As a measure of precaution, government offices in Kerala were functioning at half capacity. In the early days of COVID, the government had even encouraged government institutions to promote 'work from home' arrangements.
However, the latest order issued by chief secretary Vishwas Mehta said that low attendance had affected government work. "It is observed that the work of Secretariat and other government offices are badly affected due to COVID pandemic restrictions," the Chief Secretary said.
Halving the mandatory quarantine period to seven from 14 has reportedly been made factoring in the problems faced by those visiting Kerala for business or medical purposes.
"All who visit other states and return to Kerala and all visitors to Kerala shall be advised to undergo quarantine for seven days," the order says. "They can be tested on the seventh day after arrival and if tested negative, further quarantine of seven days is optional and not mandatory, though 14 days quarantine is desirable as per health protocol," it says.
However, those who don't get tested should undergo a 14-day quarantine.