West Bengal government closes malls, spas, cinemas, gyms and restaurants, and restricts bazaar hours as COVID cases rise uncontrollably

Published : April 30, 2021 21:25 IST

Beds inside the Kishore Bharati Stadium in Kolkata, which has been converted into a COVID-19 hospital, on April 30 Photo: Swapan Mahapatra/PTI

With the COVID-19 pandemic going out of control in West Bengal, the State government has ordered that all shopping complexes, malls, beauty parlours, cinema halls, restaurants and bars, sports complexes, gyms, spas and swimming pools shall remain closed. Home deliveries and online services will be allowed.

An order issued by the Chief Secretary, Alapan Bandopadhyay, dated April 30, stated that the new restrictions/prohibitions will be in force immediately, and “until further orders, for the time being”. The government has prohibited all “social/cultural/academic/entertainment related gatherings and congregations”, and will allow bazaars and hats to remain open only from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the morning and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the afternoon. Essential services like medical shops, medical equipment shops, grocery shops and so on will remain “outside the confines of the embargo,” the order said.

With respect to the Assembly election results that are to be announced on May 2, the order stated: “All activities related to electoral counting processes and victory rallies/ processions will be guided by the guidelines already issued by the ECI… while unnecessary congregations in the neighbourhoods of counting halls will also be discouraged and restricted and will have to abide by the physical distancing norms and other COVID-appropriate behaviour.” The Election Commission has banned victory rallies on May 2, and only two people will be allowed to accompany the winning candidate to collect the MLA certificate.

On April 30, the State saw a new record once again with both daily cases and deaths. It recorded 17,411 new cases and 96 deaths in just 24 hours. The total number of active cases in the State stood at 1,17,007, and the discharge rate dropped to 84.91 per cent. With cases rising, hospitals are facing an acute crisis of beds and instances of patients dying without treatment are increasing by the day.