The Karnataka government, on June 21, added six more districts to the list of 17 districts under 'Unlock 2.0', where COVID-19 curbs have been relaxed, allowing hotels, gyms, and public transport bus services to resume operations.
Udupi, Bengaluru Rural, Shivamogga, Ballari, Chitradurga and Vijayapura have been placed under Category-1 after considering the weekly moving average positivity rate and also taking into account the consistent declining trend of the COVID-19 case positivity rate, the state government said in its order.
Earlier, the government issued guidelines on June 19, further relaxing the Covid-19 curbs in 17 districts where the positivity rate is below 5 percent, including Bengaluru, that came into effect from 6 am today, allowing all shops to function from 6 am to 5 pm and public transport to resume operations with 50 percent capacity.
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In all, the government has now relaxed COVID-19 restrictions in 23 districts.
As the state entered into another phase of relaxation of lockdown measures, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa told people not to be under the 'illusion' that the COVID-19 pandemic is gone and asked them to be vigilant and follow all the precautionary preventive measures.
He said, 'COVID numbers have come down than expected, so we decided to relax lockdown restrictions, but the fear of corona still looms large.'
Though bus operations have come as a relief to office-goers and others who depend on them for commuting, they plying in lesser numbers and with 50 percent capacity is causing chaos at bus stands in several places of the city, with higher number of people wanting to avail its service.
Similar reports are emerging from other places.
While the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) had said it is deploying 3,000 initially for local and inter-district long route bus operations, the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) had said it will ply 2,000 buses.
KSRTC also said it will restart inter-state bus services to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana States as per the guidelines of respective States with effect from June 22 based on traffic density and need with 50 percent seating capacity.
Hotels, clubs and restaurants without air conditioning opened this morning for service until 5 pm with 50 percent seating, but liquor will not be permitted.
Also, gyms began their function at half capacity, and parks will be open from 5 am to 6 pm for walking and jogging.
Functioning of lodges and resorts with bookings up to 50 percent, outdoor sports activities without spectators, outdoor film shooting are among the other things that are permitted from June 21.
However, there will be a curfew in place between 7 pm and 5 am on weekdays and during weekends curfew will be in place from 7 pm on Friday evening to 5 am on Monday morning throughout the state.
Among those that continue to remain shut are swimming pools, places of worship, political events, educational institutions, shopping malls, pubs and amusement parks.
Steady increase has been seen in traffic movement in the city, with all government and private offices being permitted to function with 50 percent of their staff strength and offices dealing with essential and emergency services are permitted to function as per their requirement.
The 17 districts where most restrictions have been relaxed, to which six more districts were added today, are Bengaluru Urban, Uttara Kannada, Belagavi, Mandya, Koppala, Chikkaballapur, Tumakuru, Kolar, Gadag, Dharwad, Raichur, Bagalkot, Kalaburagi, Haveri, Ramanagara, Yadgir and Bidar.
In rest of the districts that have a positivity rate of more than 5 percent, the existing relaxation which was in place from June 11, will apply, allowing essential shops to be open from 6 am to 2 pm, and movement of people till 7 pm.
Mysuru, where the positivity rate is high, will remain under a strict lockdown until July 5.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.