NEWS
24/03/2020 2:26 PM IST | Updated 25/03/2020 5:21 PM IST

Tamil Nadu Lockdown: What Happens To Food, Transport, Ration?

The state will go into lockdown at 6pm on Tuesday evening till March 31, the chief minister had announced.

ARUN SANKAR via Getty Images
Security personnel stand at the entrance of a shopping mall closed in Chennai on March 17, 2020.

Tamil Nadu will go into lockdown at 6pm on Tuesday in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus, the state government announced on Monday.

The lockdown, which will be in effect till March 31, will also affect public transport. Tamil Nadu has already suspended Chennai Metro rail services and interstate government bus services till the end of the month.

In Erode, nine streets in the area visited by a couple Thai tourists have been shut down after they tested positive for Covid-19. Shops and establishments are closed and the streets sealed from the public.

Here is what will happen today:

District borders will be closed from 6 pm. State borders had already been closed earlier.

All Police Commissioners and District Governments “shall issue appropriate orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code”, which means more than five people cannot gather in public places.

There is no curb on transportation and sale of food and medicines during this period.

FOOD

Vegetable, groceries, dairies, meat and fish shops will remain open as they sell essential commodities.

Local bodies are directed to regularly monitor and clean shops where essential items are distributed. Police will also monitor people here.

AMMA canteens across the state will continue to serve food.

Hotels and restaurants can sell food, but only through takeway. Home delivery of food through apps like Swiggy and Zomato is prohibited.

Chennai Municipal Commissioner and other district administrators are directed to set up public kitchens as needed.

The poor and the elderly will be provided cooked food at their place of residence, CM Edappadi K Palaniswami said. This will be coordinated by district officials.

TRANSPORT

From Tuesday evening, transit between districts is prohibited except for movement of essential goods.

Public transport, private transport, automobiles, autos and taxis will not be functional unless they are involved in providing essential services.

According to The NewsMinute, the list of vehicles exempted includes ambulances vehicles owned or contracted by the companies under exempted categories for transportation of staff to work place and back, all goods carriers,  taxis to and from the airport, hospitals to home, funeral services vehicles, government vehicles carrying out essential services or duties.

SHOPS and OFFICES

TASMAC shops, the government-run outlets that sell alcohol, will be closed.

Commercial complexes like markets and shopping malls will be closed.

Government offices other than essential departments will not function.

Tamil Nadu’s Information Technology (IT) and Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) companies have been asked to work from home as much as possible.

Construction work other than essential building work is prohibited. However, there should be no pay cut for unemployed workers, the CM has said.

Factories and export companies that produce essential commodities are allowed to run but with fewer employees. (More details here)

Govt’s relief package

Palaniswami announced a Rs 3,850 crore special relief package Tuesday to help people whose livelihood has taken a hit due to the curbs put in place for battling the coronavirus.

Under this, people with ‘rice’ ration cards will get Rs 1,000 each cash assistance, and all card holders shall get essential commodities -rice, dhal, cooking oil and sugar- free of cost in April.

If family cardholders fail to buy ration items for March, they can it buy along with items for April.

Auto drivers and construction workers will get a special assistance of Rs 1,000.

Families of migrant labourers will get 15 kilos of rice and one kilo each of dal and cooking oil for free.

Home Quarantine

Palaniswami said officials will paste stickers outside the houses of people who have been directed to quarantine themselves at home for 14 days.

People who returned from abroad and other states are asked to furnish information to the health department and extend full cooperation.

The state’s health minister said legal action action will be taken against those violating self-quarantine rules, including impounding of passports.

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