Bengaluru, July 2: Almost dismissing the fear of a third wave of Covid-19 as fiction, the Karnataka government is planning to allow reopening of malls and extending business hours of shops and establishments. Also on the cards is a relaxation of the weekend curfew currently in force.
The group of ministers (GoM) on Covid-19 headed by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa is scheduled to meet on Saturday to discuss the plans for the third level of lockdown relaxations. “Some relaxations are on the cards and the issues of lifting the weekend curfew and reducing the hours of night curfew are being discussed. The chief minister will take a final call after the GoM meeting,” said Home Minister and GoM member Basavaraj Bommai.
At present, stand-alone retail shops are allowed to stay open between 6am and 5pm, with night curfew being clamped at 7pm. Now traders want permission to open their outlets till 10pm. However, sources said an hourlong extension is being looked at. Public transport and Metro service are likely to be allowed to operate for longer hours.
While the government is looking at a strategy to balance economic revival with Covid management, a steady decline in cases is likely to encourage a more optimistic view on opening up more sectors.
The Covid-19 technical advisory committee (TAC) has given a three-phase unlock plan, of which two levels of relaxation have already been implemented. The third phase envisages reopening of pubs and bars with 50% occupancy, and temples and religious places too. “The government wants to follow the TAC guidelines for unlocking with modifications suggested by the GoM,” said Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar.
Meanwhile, the Test Positivity Rate dipped below 2% Friday to 1.92% while the state recorded 2984 new Covid cases and 88 Covid-related deaths. While Bengaluru reported 593 cases and 11 deaths, Mysuru recorded 457 new cases followed by Dakshina Kannada at 302.