State enters virtual lockdown, police close down ‘non-essential’ establishments

Police closed down many shops and commercial establishments not dealing with essential services across the State on Thursday afternoon, catching many traders off guard. Police have taken to the streets and brought down shutters on commercial establishments in Bengaluru, Hubballi, Belagavi, Tumakuru, Mysuru and other cities and towns.

Except for those explicitly allowed – pharmacies, groceries, vegetable/fruit shops/vendors, dairy stalls, meat stalls, salons and hardware stores – rest will be closed till May 4, government sources said. With this, the State seems to have entered a virtual lockdown for the next two weeks. The government imposed weekend lockdown, extended night curfew and closed down places of large gatherings such as malls, theatres and places of worship on Tuesday night for a period of two weeks. Within a day, the guidelines have now been revised to further impose curbs, close down shops, making it a virtual lockdown. However, offices will continue to work with skeletal staff.

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Chief Secretary P. Ravi Kumar had issued an addendum to the two-week restrictions and guidelines on Wednesday night, which added a line that “all shops and commercial establishments other than those mentioned above shall remain closed”, which almost went unnoticed. “There was no clarity in the guidelines issued on Tuesday night, promoting an addendum being issued on Wednesday. But that also was not interpreted properly, leading to this confusion on Thursday,” said a senior government functionary.

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