The Odisha government has announced guidelines for the unlocking process in August with focus on livelihood.
According to the new guidelines, all shops, malls, parks, sea beaches and restaurants will open now but function by strictly following the Covid protocol.
All the shops will remain open from 6am to 8pm across the state. After 8pm, night curfew will come into force and remain effective till the next morning.
All adults visiting malls and restaurants, especially in cities such as Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Puri, will need to produce proof of full vaccination against Covid-19 for entry.
Special relief commissioner P.K. Jena said at a media conference here on Saturday: “In Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Puri, for entry into malls, restaurants, bars and dhabas, adults will have to produce final vaccination certificates.”
Considering the Covid-19 caseloads in cities, the state government has decided to continue with the weekend shutdown (Saturday and Sunday) in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Puri. The new guidelines will remain in force till September 1.
District collectors and municipal commissioners have been empowered to open religious places, including temples, mosques and other establishments, in their respective areas in consultation with the stakeholders.
“In case of the Puri Shree Jagannath Temple and Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar, the respective temple administrations will take a call after consulting with the stakeholders. Compliance with Covid safety protocols and appropriate restrictions is a must,” Jena said. However, devotees will not be allowed to take bhoga or prasad in the temples.
Jena said: “All the hotels, bars and restaurants will be allowed to do business with 50 per cent seating capacity in compliance with Covid guidelines. Similarly, cinema halls, auditoriums and assembly halls will open with 50 per cent capacity. Jatra and opera parties can also run with 50 per cent capacity.”
With the government’s announcement that beaches can be opened, hotel owners in Puri said the tourism industry, which had suffered a setback due to the pandemic, can be revived again.
“It’s a welcome step by the government to open hotels, restaurants and sea beaches. We are hopeful that the tourism industry will be revived. Tourists will flock to Puri again. However, we will ensure that everyone follows the Covid guidelines,” said Ram Krushna Das Mohapatra, president of the Puri Hotel Owners Association.
Street vendors will be allowed to offer on-spot eating following Covid protocol. Inter-state and intra-state public transport will function with seating capacity. All educational institutions, including coaching centres, will function in accordance with the Covid guidelines. The Nandankanan zoo in Bhubaneswar will also be opened.
All official meetings, including business-to-business meetings shall be allowed with participation of maximum 100 people and official programmes for inauguration and laying of foundation stones will be allowed with the participation of 30 people.
Odisha reported 1,578 new Covid-19 cases during the last 24 hours, taking the total caseload to 977,268. The state also reported 68 deaths due to the virus on Saturday, taking the toll to 5,902, which continues to be a cause for concern.