First clean and disinfect, then open shops: Kerala CM

Thiruvananthapuram, April 25 (IANS) Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday advised all shops and establishments that have now been allowed to open that they should first clean and disinfect the place before opening them to the public.

Vijayan’s response came after he chaired the daily Covid-19 round-up meeting today. Responding to the new Central guidelines that came late last night, the Chief Minister said whenever the state comes out with its order, “there will be no ambiguity, though the Central guidelines are very clear”.

“My suggestion is maybe on the first and second day, all such shops and their vicinity should be cleaned and disinfectant. Once that’s done, it would be best to restart normal business,” said Vijayan.

“Kerala’s position is slightly different from other states as there is practically no divide between villages and cities here. So, shops and establishments, barring single and multi-brand malls can open. But all the guidelines and protocols such as wearing masks and maintaining social distancing have to be maintained. The staff strength should be 50 per cent of the normal times,” said Vijayan.

Earlier in the day, Kerala welcomed the fresh relaxation of lockdown guidelines by the Centre that will allow the opening of neighbourhood shops. State Minister for Industries E.P. Jayarajan said the state will do everything required to not let the coronavirus outbreak spread.

“We welcome this new guideline, but we will come out with how this will be made applicable in our state. We just cannot afford to relax,” said Jayarajan.

According to the new order by the Centre, only those shops will be opened that are registered under the Shops and Establishment Act of the respective states and UTs, including shops in residential complexes and market complexes, except shops in multi-brand and single brand malls.

Kerala at present is divided into red and orange zones, with four districts — Kannur, Kasargode, Kozhikode and Malappuram — in the red zone, where strict controls are in place and the remaining 10 districts coming under the orange zones.

In Kerala there are over 80 hotspots and the new guidelines rule out any relaxation there, said Vijayan.

–IANS

sg/prs