April 16, 2021: The exponential increase in the COVID-19 cases finally led to the inevitable. The decree of a weekend curfew in Delhi is now set in motion by the state government in addition to the prevailing night curfew from 10pm to 5am.
Weekend curfew in Delhi
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced fresh curbs on Thursday, including a curfew this weekend. The sudden increase in containment measures followed an hour after Kejriwal’s meet with the lieutenant governor Anil Baijal regarding the COVID upsurge. Statistics backed the decision as the positivity rate spiked to 15.92 per cent on Wednesday, a brutal rise from 13.14 per cent on Tuesday.
Delhi marked 17,282 fresh cases on Wednesday, recording the highest single-day spike, and 104 deaths.
The restrictions during the weekend curfew in Delhi
The new restrictions entail a weekend curfew starting 10pm on April 16 (Friday), till 5am on April 19 (Monday), which will be relaxed only for the commutation of people working in essential services. A night curfew has already been imposed in Delhi from 10pm to 5 am.
Any breach in the instructions, will cause the person to be proceeded against in accordance to the provisions of sections 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, Section 188 of IPC and other applicable laws.
Exemption of shops dealing with foods, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, meat and fish, animal fodder, pharmaceuticals, medicines and medical equipment; banks, insurance offices and ATMs; print and electronic media; telecommunications, Internet services, broadcasting and cable services, IT and IT-enabled services will be allowed. Delivery of all essential goods including foods, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment through e-commerce is permitted.
An all week shut down to prevail until further orders on shopping malls, gyms, spas, auditoriums and dine-in services at restaurants. The seating capacity in cinema halls has been reduced from 50 to 30 per cent during the week, while it will be on complete shut down on weekends.
In matters concerning domestic help, no such legal restrictions are imposed, however it is advisable to prohibit persons travelling from afar and best to relieve them of their duties on the weekends. Non-essential activities are not to be attended neither during the weekend curfew nor in the night curfew.
Identity cards ought to be carried along by the government officials, healthcare and frontline workers, diplomats and journalists in order to produce when required. Persons working in essential services will need to provide e-passes upon request. These passes can be obtained by applying on the website www.delhi.gov.in.
Jogging, walking and cycling on the road or in the park will not be permitted during the weekend curfew. Visiting friends, get-togethers of any kind is strictly prohibited, the intent of the curfew being social distancing. Refuelling vehicles have to be shifted to week days; hence preparations are to be made in advance. Driving to places on private vehicles is not advised during these times either. Walking pets is allowed only within one’s residential colony, only if its urgent.
While ordering food online or directly from restaurants is permitted, eating at roadside food stalls is not. Weekly markets will not be allowed to operate over the weekend, not in exception to the prominent ones like Khan Market, Connaught Place, Sarojini Nagar. All through the week only one weekly market will be allowed to open per day and the authorities will take measures to manage the crowd. In place of packed lanes, weekly markets will be held in open fields and playgrounds in schools to ensure maximum caution.
Provisions for the E-passes
E-passes will be mandatory to attend a wedding or a funeral, that too, only if one is listed among the 50 guests invited to the wedding or among the 20 called to the funeral.
Public spaces like, parks, tourist spots, including Qutub Minar or India Gate will be shut down over the weekend. Travel from or to the airport, railway station or an ISBT will be allowed only if e-passes or tickets are produced on request. The same rules apply in order to travel to the vaccination centre.
In case one needs to go to the hospital, ambulances are in motion to carry the patients. Those feeling sick, can travel to meet a doctor, even without relevant document. They might be questioned and judged on the basis of the genuineness of the matter.
Use of public transport will not be permitted unless one is engaged in essential services. As per the latest order, the Delhi Metro and DTC bus capacity has been reduced to 50 per cent. Movement of interstate buses is allowed only at the issuance of an e-pass or a valid ticket to travel to the ISBT, the passenger has boarded the bus from. One can get a ride on an app-based cab aggregator, only for the essential service workers and for those arriving into the city via train, airplane and the like. Valid e-passes or travel ticket have to be produced.
Travel by auto-rickshaw, e-rickshaw or cycle-rickshaw for essential services and those going to get vaccinated against COVID-19 (with an e-pass) and for medical treatment, will be allowed. Nonetheless, travel without valid causes or against the aforementioned rules will entail prosecution.