Bengaluru is set to reopen some businesses after nearly five weeks of the lockdown, even as restrictions on people and vehicle movements will continue and work from home will remain a requirement in India’s technology capital.

Similar relaxations have been announced by the Delhi government that include sale of liquor. However, there will be no relaxation in Mumbai due to the large number of cases being reported in the city.

“Barricades are not going to be removed now. It will come off only when the government withdraws the word lockdown,” Bhaskar Rao, Bengaluru city police commissioner said.

He added that the police will continue checking vehicles and people movement and that no new curfew passes will be issued.

The statement comes a day before Bengaluru and other parts of Karnataka are gearing up to reopen businesses and industries as the B.S.Yediyurappa-led state government has made some exceptions to kickstart economic activity in the cash-starved state.

Bengaluru is one of three districts in Karnataka that has been classified as a ‘Red Zone” by the centre but states have been given powers to lower the classification. There will be a penalty of upto to 2000 for not wearing masks in public places in Bengaluru.

There will be no activity in the 123 containment zones in Karnataka, including 23 in Bengaluru that has 70 active cases out of the 149 recorded so far. Out of the 13 that tested positive on Sunday, four are from Bengaluru city.

Rao admits that the barricades will be an “inconvenience” but terms it necessary. The arbitrarily placed barricades that include stones, heavy pipes and tree stumps on major roads is likely to slow down traffic or force people to take long detours to reach their workplace.

However, most technology companies may continue their work from home (WFH) policy.

“We are not in a hurry to come back to work aggressively. In phase one we expect maybe less than 5% to come back to work in offices,” B.Pravin Rao, chief operating officer at Infosys Technologies said on 20 April. He added that there will be a stage wise return of employees. Wipro is also expected to continue its WFH policy in Bengaluru even as the company started operations in neighbouring Kerala with limited number of staff coming in.

Public sector aircraft maker, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has resumed 100% operations since Tuesday in two shifts.

Movement of people will be mostly on private vehicles as city bus services and metro rail will remain shut. Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) will continue to run buses for essential services providers only.

Our services remain suspended in all cities which fall under the Red zone. However, we’ll continue to serve our communities in this zone with Uber Essential and UberMedic.

Only Uber Essential and Uber Medic will be available in Bengaluru, Mumbai and other cities in the red zones, the company said in a statement on Sunday.

The Karnataka High Court will have a limited number of benches operating while all other courts within the city will remain closed, according to one person aware of the developments.

Malls, cinema theatres, places of religious worship, barber shops among others will remain closed as the threat of the novel coronavirus continues to loom over the city, state and country. The state government, however, has allowed opening of liquor stores in Bengaluru as excise is one of the biggest sources of revenue for the state. The excise department has a target of 22,700 crore for the current fiscal and has already is estimated to have lost around 2000 crore due to the lockdown in April.

News Source: Livemint


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