Unlock 4.0 dawns, but Kerala employs own rules in wake of rising COVID cases

A slew of lockdown relaxations that Centre announced as part of Unlock 4.0 comes into effect today (September 21).

Shops

Shops and retail outlets outside of containment zones are allowed to remain open till 10 pm instead of 7 pm as part of the new guidelines. This is likely to reduce the crowds that throng the shops during the day.

Hotels and bakeries

Hotels and bakeries are also allowed to function till 9 pm now. Though the dine-in facility is allowed at the restaurants, bars are not allowed to open.

Bars

Recently, the Kerala government had rejected the State Excise Commissioner's recommendation that bars should be allowed to open with COVID restrictions.

Now, only parcel sales through special counters in bars and beer parlours are allowed. Customers can collect the parcels only by making a booking through the BevQ app, which was launched during the COVID-19 lockdown to control the crowds at alcohol outlets.

Quarantine

The Kerala government is yet to take a final decision on reducing the number of quarantine days from 14 to 7 for those coming from other states. A proposal submitted in this regard was termed unscientific by the Department of Health.

Should quarantine days be reduced to seven then tests are likely to be made mandatory.

A proposal to reduce the number of quarantine days to just 10 is also being considered.

Schools

The schools will remain shut, but students of classes 9 to 12 can attend voluntarily to seek in-person guidance from teachers. However, this is unlikely to be implemented in Kerala soon.

Cultural and religious events

Political, social, cultural, and religious events can be held from September 21 with up to 100 people. Academic and sports programmes can also be held following the COVID-19 protocol.

Open-air theatres can also function from September 21.