After 17 days of intense lockdown in the state capital and suburban areas,Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Saturday announced relaxations for Chennai while extending curbs for Madurai and nearby regions till July 12.

Chennai, which is under tightened restrictions from June 19 to July 5 to help fight rising Covid-19 cases, would see easing of curbs from Monday

Effective July 6, vegetable shops and groceries could function from 6 am to 6 pm from the present 6 am to 2 pm in Chennai and suburban areas under the jurisdiction of Greater Chennai Police, Palaniswami said in a statement.

Tea shops could resume functioning and operate from 6 am to 6 pm though only takeaway services would be permitted.

Similarly, restaurants shall continue with takeaway services alone as is the norm now though they could now work till 9 pm from the present 2 pm.

Barring malls, all kinds of showrooms and other businesses including textiles and jewellery can be back in business and work from 10 am to 6 pm, he said.

The restrictions and relaxations applicable prior to June 19 shall come into force again, he said.

Till June 18, businesses and commercial establishments were allowed to function by following safety measures including social distancing to help prevent spread of coronavirus.

Lockdown in Madurai till July 12

The intense lockdown clamped from June 24 in Madurai city and several nearby areas,including Paravai Town Panchayat and a number of village panchayats, would continue to be on till July 12, he said.

Only essential services would be allowed to function in these regions and no kind of activities shall be permitted in containment zones, the chief minister added.

Besides Chennai and Madurai, several relaxations as part of Unlock-2 are applicable in other parts of Tamil Nadu.

Palaniswami appealed to the people to extend their cooperation for the government’s efforts to battle the Covid-19 pandemic.

Days ago, the government announced that there will be a complete shutdown on all the four Sundays in July throughout Tamil Nadu.