Calcutta: The West Bengal government on Friday allowed all shops and commercial establishments, including bars and restaurants, to remain open until regular working hours, but not beyond 10:30 p.m.
The easing will take effect from Monday. The state administration extended existing COVID restrictions to August 31 on Thursday, but slashed the nighttime curfew hours by two hours, imposing it from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
It has enabled outdoor government programs with strict adherence to COVID protocols. The state administration has also allowed theaters, auditoriums and open-air theaters to operate with no more than 50 percent of their respective capacities.
“Stadiums and swimming pools can remain open with 50% of their respective strengths at a time,” the order said.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced Thursday the extension of COVID restrictions as well as the relaxation of the nighttime curfew. A decision in this regard was taken following a review of the current situation by the Executive Committee of the National Disaster Management Authority.
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Meanwhile, the state’s COVID-19 tally rose to 15,377,185 as an additional 739 people tested positive for the infection, while eight new deaths brought its coronavirus death toll to 18,276, according to a health bulletin.
North 24 Parganas District recorded the highest number of new cases with 89, followed by 88 in Kolkata. North 24 Parganas also recorded the highest number of new deaths at four, followed by three in Kolkata.
The state now has 10,109 active cases, while an additional 749 people have been cured of the disease, bringing the total number of recoveries to 15 08,800, according to the bulletin, adding that the cure rate has improved to 98, 15%.
West Bengal has tested more than 1.63 lakh of samples for COVID-19 so far, including 45,442 in the past 24 hours.