Movie theatres and weekly markets in Delhi – shut since March because of the coronavirus lockdown – have been allowed to reopen, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted Wednesday night.
Mr Kejriwal said that while all weekly markets can restart immediately cinema halls can do so from October 15, adding that both would have to follow the centre’s guidelines. He said the decision to reopen weekly markets, in particular, would benefit the poor, who relied on them for employment.
“Now all weekly markets in Delhi will be opened. Till now only two markets per zone were allowed. Poor people will get a lot of relief from the markets being reopened. Cinema halls will also open from October 15. They have to follow guidelines issued by the centre,” Mr Kejriwal said.
अब दिल्ली के सभी साप्ताहिक बाज़ार खुल सकेंगे। अभी तक केवल 2 बाज़ार प्रतिदिन प्रति ज़ोन की इजाज़त थी। गरीब लोगों को इस से काफ़ी राहत मिलेगी।
15 अक्तूबर से दिल्ली के सिनेमा हॉल भी खुल सकेंगे। उन्हें केंद्र सरकार द्वारा जारी सभी दिशा निर्देश पालन करने होंगे।
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) October 7, 2020
Last week the centre said cinema halls, multiplexes and movie theatres could reopen as part of “Unlock 5” – the fifth phase of easing of Covid-related restrictions that will be in force till October 31.
Movie theatres can operate at 50 per cent seating capacity and with staggered show timings, thermal screening for customers and adequate protective gear for staff, the centre said in its SOPs (standard operating procedures).
Weekly markets in the national capital had reopened on a trial basis in August. Coinciding with the reopening of hotels in non-containment zones of the city, they were initially limited to one per zone between August 24 and 30.
Following that trial they were increased to two per zone and allowed to remain open till September 6 (yesterday). As with movie theatres, markets too are required to follow social distancing and have no more than two customers per stall at any given time.
Mr Kejriwal has been pushing to reopen economic centres and restart commercial activity in Delhi with one eye on the economic situation. The move to allow liquor to be sold, for example, was key for a cash-strapped government that made Rs 7,000 crore in excise duties last year.
Delhi, once the worst-affected metro in the country, has slipped down the list since; there are now fewer more than 22,000 active cases, although this was as low as 11,000 before a spike last month.
This has prompted Mr Kejriwal to declare that Delhi had seen off a second wave of infections.
Overall India has logged over 67.5 lakh cases so far, of which 1.04 lakh are deaths linked to the virus and around 9.07 lakh are active cases.