Chennai, June 28 (UNI): Temples and places of worships in Chennai and its three neighbouring districts re opened after a gap of nearly 50 days, public transport services commenced in 23 more districts, as yet another week of extended COVID lockdown began on Monday morning with more relaxations.
The total and complete lockdown which began on May 10, was being extended by every week with enhanced relaxations.
Chief Minister M K Stalin, who had reviewed the prevailing COVID situation across the State, announced the lockdown was extended from today morning to July five 0600 hrs, while coming out with more relaxations, in all the 38 districts of the state, which were categorised into three types.
After a gap of nearly 50 days, public entry were allowed in temples, churches, mosques and places of worship, shopping complexes and malls reopened in Chennai and neighbouring Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chenglapet districts (classified as Category 3), while intra and inter-district public transport services resume in 23 districts coming under Category-2 from today.
Additional relaxations in 11 districts in western and central Tamil Nadu, where a stricter lockdown had been in force in the wake of higher caseload, also came into being from today.
In Chennai and three districts, private offices started functioning with 100 per cent staff strength, while textile and jewellery shops without AC facility, too re-opened with 50 per cent of customer capacity and timings were extended for shops and establishments which were already opened in these places, where public transport services commenced last week.
However, cinema halls and gaming centres continued to remain shut. In 23 districts under category-II, intra and inter-district public transport began with 50 per cent seating and all private offices started to function with 50 per cent of their staff along with construction firms.
Sales and servicing centres of mobile phones, computer hardware, software and spare parts of electronic appliances too re-opened.
As part of extended relaxations, the Government also announced the re-opening of textile and jewellery shops with 50 per cent customers.
The 23 Category-II districts are: Ariyalur, Cuddalore, Dharmapuri, Dindigul, Kallakurichi, Kanniyakumari, Krishnagiri, Madurai, Perambalur, Pudukkottai, Ramanathapuram, Ranipet, Sivaganga, Theni, Tenkasi, Tirunelveli, Tirupattur, Tiruvannamalai, Thoothukudi, Tiruchi, Vellore, Villupuram and Virudhunagar.
Meanwhile, long distance public bus services operated by the State Express Transport Corporations resumed in 27 districts from today, except in 11 districts–Coimbatore, Erode, Karur, Mayiladuthurai, Nagapattinam, Namakkal, Salem, Thanjavur, the Nilgiris, Tiruppur and Tiruvarur–which comes under category-I in view of higher caseload.
In Category-1 district, all government offices, industries, banks and ATM services and insurance companies started funcioning with 100 per cent staff, while IT and ITES firms operated with with 50 per cent workforce.
Gymnasiums and yoga centres too were open. The Government also announced that the earlier relaxations already announced would continue. Schools, colleges, universities and training centres were allowed for admission activities. Government parks and those under the control of the local bodies and playgrounds were also opened for walking and jogging from 5.00 AM to 9.00 AM.