Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday agreed to allow restaurants in the state to operate between 5 and 8 PM during the COVID lockdown. She said that all staff members need to be vaccinated and the restaurants must follow COVID protocol.
The CM also said that her government is providing these relaxations to restaurant operators so that they can conduct their business for a few hours daily in order to help the industry survive.
While interacting with representatives of various industry bodies at a special meeting conducted by the state secretariat to discuss ways to boost business during the pandemic, Banerjee said that she doesn't want hotels to stay shut. "We are not in favour of shutting down business. But at the same time, we must try and control the disease so that we don't have to face another wave," she added.
Banerjee also discussed focusing on food delivery. Last week, the West Bengal government had extended its COVID lockdown till June 15 in order to control the spread of the virus. On Monday, she announced a few relaxations as the number of active COVID cases in the state had declined.
She further stated, "The coronavirus cases have decreased to half in the state. 1.4 crore vaccines have been given free of cost by the state government. The restaurants in the state will be allowed to remain open between 5 pm and 8 pm after all their staff gets vaccinated."
As per the sources, retail shops including bookstalls were allowed to open between 12 PM and 3 PM, construction activities were permitted to resume after vaccinating all workers, and operations in the Information Technology sector were allowed with 10 per cent strength between 12 PM and 3 PM.
The CM also said that the priests of all major temples will be vaccinated by the state government.