KOLKATA: The West Bengal government on Friday ordered shutdown of all shopping malls, salons, restaurants, bars, sports complexes, gyms, spas and swimming pools in the state with immediate effect until further orders, amid the surge in COVID-19 cases.
Social, cultural, academic, entertainment-related gatherings and congregations have also been prohibited in the state for the time being, according to the order.
Bazaars, market places will be allowed to operate twice every day -- from 7 am-10 am and 3 pm-5 pm.
Medical shops, medical equipment outlets, grocery stores, along with online services and home deliveries, have been kept out of the order's purview.
Activities related to the electoral counting processes and victory rallies will be guided by the Election Commission protocols, the order said.
"Unnecessary congregation in the neighbourhood of the counting halls will be discouraged and everyone will have to abide by the physical distancing norms and other COVID- appropriate behaviour," it added.
Any person violating these measures will be liable to be proceeded against as per the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides action under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code and other legal provisions as applicable.
A senior government official told PTI that the "the administration will review the situation every day, and further steps would be taken depending on the evolving circumstances".
He also clarified that vehicular movement would not get affected by this order.
Asked whether the state administration has plans to impose complete lockdown in the state anytime soon, the official said "that would be our last option".
"Hopefully, the restrictions put in place will be able to check the spread of the disease," he added.