More clarity is yet to come in from the Centre on reopening of shops, but West Bengal has decided to reopen standalone shops including tea and paan stalls from Monday, said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
These however will apply to green zones and a total lockdown will continue in containment zones. Other shops that will reopen include electronics, mobile charging, hardware, laundry, stationery and paint shops. However Mamata issued a disclaimer saying people cannot sit at tea stalls to drink tea and chat.
Mamata has also said that factories in green zones can function while those in red zones will depend on permissions subject to various factors, like those that fall within containment zones. Private buses which have licences from the District Magistrate (DM) can operate in green zones after getting permission from the transport department. However only 20 passengers will be allowed on these buses and all have to wear masks.
“I urge that we follow lockdown for some more days. Please don't get out unless it is an emergency,” said Mamata Banerjee. On Tuesday a section of people in Howrah district’s Tikiapara not only violated lockdown norms, but also attacked Police with bricks injuring a few officers in uniform. 10 persons have been arrested in connection with the incident.
“In Bengal there are so many station. One incident happened in Tikiapara and Police will take action, but why humiliate the state in front of the entire country?” questioned Mamata.
“The Tikiapara incident should not have happened. It is sad. I have asked Police to take stern action. Crime is crime, we do not differentiate cast or creed,” added the Chief Minister.
Meanwhile COVID-19 cases in West Bengal touch 550, with 33 new cases reported on Wednesday with 5 patients being discharged. 124 persons have been discharged from government quarantine centres. 22 deaths due to COVID-19 have been reported so far from the state. 88% of these cases have been reported from Kolkata, Howrah and North 24 Parganas districts.