Covid waning: Delhi decides to lift weekend curfew

Traders in Delhi had suffered huge losses in the last 25 days, to the tune of almost 70 per cent

New Delhi: With the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic showing signs of waning in the national capital, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority on Thursday decided to lift the weekend curfew and the “odd-even” system of opening non-essential shops in markets and malls in the city, besides permitting restaurants and bars to reopen with 50 per cent seating capacity from Friday.

Cinema halls too can reopen with 50 per cent seating capacity. Delhi, meanwhile, reported 4,291 new Covid-19 cases, 9,397 recoveries and 34 deaths in the last 24 hours.

These decisions were taken at a DDMA meeting on Thursday chaired by lieutenant-governor Anil Baijal. He, however, postponed any decision on the reopening of schools till the next meeting.

Government offices have also been allowed to reopen with 50 per cent staff. Private offices had been allowed to reopen earlier with 50 per cent capacity. The DDMA has, however, advised the private offices to stagger office timings, presence and the quantum of staff. It also said that all those who could should be advised to work from home.

Another decision taken at the meeting was to allow marriage ceremonies with a maximum 200 guests in open areas and up to 50 per cent capacity at indoor venues. So far, only 20 people were allowed to attend these events at home.

The night curfew imposed from 10 pm to 5 am will also continue.

The owners of restaurants and bars have hailed the decision and said it was a much-needed step to keep the hospitality industry alive. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) complimented the L-G for lifting the weekend curfew and the withdrawal of odd-even system for shops and markets.

CAIT secretary-general Praveen Khandelwal said the decision will ease the business environment in Delhi to a great extent and help to revive businesses which have been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the lockdowns and other restrictions.

Traders in Delhi had suffered huge losses in the last 25 days, to the tune of almost 70 per cent, and the lifting of restrictions will be a huge boon.

He said that by raising the limit of persons from 20 to 200 for weddings at outdoor locations, and allowing restaurants to open at 50 per cent seating capacity, the DDMA has given an opportunity for people to carry out their family and other social obligations, particularly in the wedding season. He said traders will continue to observe all Covid-appropriate social protocols and other regulations with all sincerity.

Chamber of Trade and Industry chairman Brijesh Goyal said the lifting of these curbs will bring all businesses back on track in the city.

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