COVID-19: Delhi allows bars, public parks to reopen from tomorrow
The Delhi government on Sunday further eased the COVID-19 lockdown, announcing that bars will be allowed to reopen with 50% seating capacity from next week. Delhi has been observing a phased reopening after witnessing its worst wave of COVID-19 yet. However, the easing of the lockdown has heightened worries as many residents are seen flouting preventive protocol. Here are more details.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) said in an order on Sunday that bars, public parks, and gardens will be allowed to reopen from Monday (June 21). Bars can only reopen with up to 50% seating capacity from 12 pm to 10 pm. Further, the order mentioned that Delhi's restaurants can reopen with up to 50% seating capacity from 8 am to 10 pm.
Public parks, gardens, and golf clubs will be reopened, the order stated. Outdoor yoga activities will be allowed. Other activities and services currently prohibited, including cinemas, gyms, spas, etc., will remain closed till 5 am on June 28, it said.
The order said, "The COVID-19 situation in the National Capital Territory (NCT) has again been reviewed and it has been observed that the number of COVID-19 patients and the daily positivity rate has declined considerably and the overall situation has improved." "But caution and care have to be maintained for consolidating the whole process of COVID-19 management," it added.
Restaurants and bars will be responsible for adhering to COVID-19 guidelines and norms. Similarly, market trade associations and Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs) will be responsible for ensuring that COVID-19 guidelines are followed in malls, public parks, and gardens, residential colonies, etc.
Delhi's lockdown first came into force on April 19. At the time, CM Arvind Kejriwal had said the curbs would be lifted after six days. Every successive week since, the lockdown has been extended for seven days. It was made stricter with the suspension of Metro services on May 10. For the last four weeks, Delhi has observed a phased "unlocking" from the lockdown.
The lockdown was imposed at a time when Delhi was seeing a massive surge in infections. On April 20, Delhi had reported a record number of over 28,000 new COVID-19 cases, while the test positivity rate surged over 30%. On Saturday, Delhi reported 135 fresh cases (positivity rate 0.18%) along with seven deaths. Active cases in the national capital stood at 2,372.