Fresh 'Unlock 2' Guidelines In J&K; Religious Places To Remain Closed

A view of Hazratbal Shrine / KO File Pic: Abid Bhat

SRINAGAR- Fresh guidelines under the "unlock 2" phase came into effect in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday with the JK administration deciding against opening religious places and educational institutions, but allowing hotels to operate with full capacity.

There will be no inter-state and inter-district movement except for those carrying valid passes, while the night curfew from 10 pm to 5 am will continue to remain in force till further orders.

The new guidelines were issued on Friday night by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam and will be applicable till July 31. Prior to it, the administration issued a fresh classification of the districts in "red", "orange" and "green" categories for a successful implementation of the instructions aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19.

Except Bandipora, the nine remaining districts in Kashmir, including Srinagar, and Ramban in the Jammu region have been classified as "red" zones, along with Lakhanpur town of Kathua -- the gateway to Jammu and Kashmir bordering Punjab.

Bandipora and seven other districts in the Jammu region, including Jammu district, have been classified as "orange" zones, while Doda and Kishtwar continued to be in the "green" zone.

Continuing with the protocol for those returning from outside the Union Territory, the order said they would have to compulsorily undergo a COVID-19 RTPCR test, following which they will be under a 14-day administrative quarantine till their reports come.

"Those testing negative will be released for home quarantine while the positive persons will be sent to COVID hospitals for treatment," it said.

Restaurants, including those in hotels, which were earlier permitted to operate for home delivery and take away services, have been allowed dine-in with up to 50 per cent capacity, while hotels and hospitality services can now operate with 100 per cent capacity.

The administration has also permitted the intra-district taxis and maxi-cabs to operate in the entire Union Territory.

However, the order said "there shall be no inter-province and inter-state/UT movement of individuals except after obtaining permission or in permitted public transport, after following prescribed health protocols".

The intra-district public passenger transport vehicles running on fixed routes, including buses and mini-buses, have been allowed to operate with up to a two-thirds seating capacity (for buses) and 50 per cent seating capacity (for mini-buses) on the routes to be notified by the transport department.

"Inter-district public passenger transport vehicles (buses and mini-buses only and not maxi-cabs) can be operated with up to 2/3rd seating capacity for buses and 50 per cent for mini-buses by SRTC only on the routes notified by the Transport Department," the order said.

It added that religious places would continue to remain closed to the public till further orders, while the ban on large gatherings and congregations, besides social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural and religious functions, would continue.

The administration has also decided to keep all educational institutions, training and coaching institutions, including anganwadi centres, closed except the training institutions run by the central and state governments, but permitted online and distance learning.

Cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places will stay closed, the order said.

It said those above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years should stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements or health purposes.

All shopping malls can open except in the "red" districts, where only 50 per cent shops will operate on a daily basis, the order said.

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