West Bengal government eases Covid night restrictions by 2 hours – Times of India

Kolkata News

KOLKATA: The Bengal government on Thursday extended the Covid restrictions till August 30 but allowed some easing of norms. The daily night restriction on movement and staying out has been pushed to 11pm instead of the prevailing 9pm, while swimming pools and auditoriums will be allowed to function at 50% capacity. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, however, stressed that local trains wouldn’t be allowed to run until “50% of the rural population” was vaccinated against Covid.
The measures, first announced on May 16, and extended regularly, were to expire on August 15. The new rules will come into effect from August 16.
“The Covid situation in Bengal is quite good but the danger of the third wave is lurking,” Banerjee said, adding, “This is one of the reasons why we have not allowed local trains. We plan to accelerate the vaccination drive in Kolkata’s suburbs, if we get enough vaccines. We won’t run local trains unless we can vaccinate 50% of the rural population.”
The official notification for the extension of the restrictions was not issued till late on Thursday. But the two-hour relaxation of night restrictions has made the hotel and restaurants industry hopeful of a possible extension of timings beyond 8pm. Most leading restaurants felt this could be a big boost to the F&B industry. “We are eagerly looking at a relaxation of timings so that we get back the dinner crowd,” said Hotel and Restaurant Association of Eastern India president Sudesh Poddar.
The chief minister also complained that the state was not getting the required amount of vaccines. “If we get vaccines, we can at least ensure one dose of vaccine for the rural population and then allow local trains,” she said.
Banerjee also announced that her government had decided to release 73 life convicts in an effort to decongest prisons because of the pandemic. “On August 2, we had announced to prematurely release 63 life convicts on humanitarian grounds. Today, we have decided to release 73 more,” she said.

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/bengal-eases-cov-night-restrictions-by-2-hours/articleshow/85286131.cms