TN extends lockdown till May 31, but restrictions eased in many districts

Tamil Nadu has extended the coronavirus lockdown in the state to May 31, albeit with easing of travel- and work-related restrictions for 25 of its least-affected districts, including Coimbatore, Salem, Trichy and the Nilgiris. These relaxations will not, however, apply to containment zones.

As per the order issued by the Tamil Nadu government, additional relaxations have been issued for 25 districts. These include Coimbatore, Salem, Tirupur, Thirunelveli, Tuthukudi, Kanyakumari, Madurai, Trichy, Thanjavur and Vellore. Other districts where relaxations will apply are Erode, Namakkal, Karur, Tenkasi, Theni, Sivagangai, Virudhunagar, Ramanathapuram, Dindigul, Pudukottai, Thiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, and Nilagiri.

In these districts, citizens will not require an e-pass for travelling on a bus within the district. Only 20 people will be allowed to travel in a single government/private bus, 7 members in large vans, 3 members in SUVs, and 2 members in sedan/compact cars. Taxis have also been given the go-ahead to operate in these districts.

In these 25 districts, taxis and cab service will be allowed to function provided they are used for essential services like healthcare or are used for agricultural or business purposes. Travel in general in these districts will be allowed for essential purposes.

Inter-state travel has not been included in this relaxation and will require the authorization by the state government. Not more than 20 passengers in the case a bus, seven persons in the case of a van, three in a sports utility vehicles and two persons in a small car operated by private companies or for government work.

In 12 other districts, including state capital Chennai, taxis and auto rickshaws will only be allowed for medical use, and will require e-passes to function.

Across the state, all schools, colleges, places of worship, cinema theatres and bars will remain shut during the lockdown. Parks, beaches and major sporting and cultural events continue to be banned. However, teachers and education staff evaluating Class 12 exam papers have been exempted.