Restaurants shut as capital tightens coronavirus lockdown

Restaurants in the national capital will remain closed at least until March 31, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Thursday, announcing a fresh set of restrictions, including barring gatherings of more than 20 people, to contain the spread of coronavirus.

For the time being, home delivery and takeaway facilities will continue in restaurants extending such facilities, Kejriwal told a press conference, following a review meeting with Lt Governor Anil Baijal and other Cabinet ministers and senior officials of the administration.

The government has also decided that home quarantine will be allowed only after stamping one’s hand so that people at large are aware of the presence of any individual in public spaces in violation of guidelines. In fact, Kejriwal said the government may register an FIR and arrest such violators.

An official statement released by the L-G’s office also laid emphasis on the need to abide by home quarantine norms. “Neighbours of all home quarantined people be informed for active vigilance. RWA office bearers, neighbours may be informed about the persons under home quarantine in that residential complex/area. A workable mechanism to make the neighbours/people aware may be devised. FIR for violation of conditions by home quarantined person under section 188 of IPC as prescribed under Regulation 18 of the Delhi Epidemic Diseases, COVID-19 Regulations, 2020 issued by Health & Family Department,” the statement said.

Appealing to people to stay indoors as much as possible, Kejriwal said: “A decision has been taken to shut all restaurants in the city. However, takeaway and home delivery facilities will be available. Also, all educational institutes will be shut. Both teaching and non-teaching staff will be working from home. These arrangements will be in place till March 31.”

On the Shaheen Bagh sit-in against CAA and NRC, which remains in place, Kejriwal reiterated the ban is applicable on all gatherings, be it religious, family, social, political or cultural.

In a statement, the National Restaurant Association of India said the restaurant industries in all the major metro cities have come together to shut down businesses to help the government curtail the spread of the virus.

“As the single highest contributor to direct and indirect employment, the industry is now turning to the government for immediate support on moratorium for upcoming statutory dues delay in utility bill payments,temporary stoppage on EMI payments & interest, employee unemployment pay cover and a freeze on rental dues without breaking contract,” it added.

Meanwhile, the statement issued by Baijal’s office also said, “It was agreed that all activities of the Delhi government be segregated into essential/non-essential and all non-essential activities shall remain suspended.” Touching on this, Kejriwal said the list of such non-essential services will be announced on Friday.

The Delhi Metro has also issued an advisory to commuters to use the Metro for essential travel only and to maintain social distancing of “at least one metre distance from each other while travelling in the Metro or at the station”.

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