SHILLONG, June 1 - The Meghalaya government further relaxed the lockdown after a review meeting on Monday, permitting more businesses to open and free movement of people across the state.
Decisions were taken to allow all shops, except malls, salons, spas, beauty parlours, to open from June 3. Restrictions on inter-state movement of people and vehicles have been totally lifted with immediate effect.
In state capital Shillong, 50 per cent of the local taxis, government transport and private vehicles would operate with immediate effect. In the rural areas, the government has already allowed 50 per cent of the vehicles to ply.
“All shops, barring salons, spas and beauty parlours, would open. There would be no restriction on inter-district movement. They are free to move within the state with immediate effect. Fifty per cent of public and private transport can operate in the state capital,” said Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong.
On the 50 per cent vehicles, Tynsong said these would operate on an “odd-even” basis and the Transport department, District Transport Office and the Deputy Commissioner would work out the modalities. He said local taxis, which operate on a shared basis, would not be able to take in more than three passengers.
The Minister said lifting of the restrictions come with strict guidelines laid by the Health Ministry and these Standard Operating Procedures and protocol would have to be followed strictly by everyone.
In the review meeting, it was also decided that students who have returned to the state but have to go back to their respective institutions across the country for their examinations would be allowed to go back.
The government also turned down pleas from traders of Iewduh (Bara Bazar) to open shops. Tynsong said it was a collective decision taken not to allow the businesses within the market to open for the time being. There was no decision on opening of malls and places of worship. The Minister said discussions would be held in the next review meeting whether to open such places.
On the number of active COVID-19 cases in the state, Tynsong said these mainly concern returnees and no community transmission has taken place as of now. He said those returning to the state are taken care of right at the airport and railway station in Guwahati and quarantined. “The returnees are not allowed to mix with the community. We will be able to confine the spread,” Tynsong said.
Till Monday, 11, 916 people have reached the state from different corners of the country. A special train from Mumbai carrying about 400 people from Meghalaya was scheduled to embark on its journey to Guwahati on Monday evening.
So far, 8,504 samples have been sent for tests and 8,094 turned out negative. As many as 338 results are awaited, he said.