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Unlocking Karnataka: opening of bars, public transport at full capacity from July 5

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In a move to further unlock the state, the government of Karnataka on Saturday announced a series of easing of Covid restrictions, including the opening of bars and the operation of public transport at full capacity which will take effect from Monday July 5.

Following a meeting with cabinet ministers, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said that while schools, colleges, theaters and cinemas, bars will be allowed to open from Monday. Under the new guidelines, all restaurants, shopping malls and private offices can also open at full capacity. However, pubs will be allowed to provide take-out service only.

Public transport will be allowed to operate at full capacity, instead of the previous 50% rule, the chief minister said. Among other key measures, the government lifted the two-week weekend curfew and shortened the nighttime curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., instead of the current duration of 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. hours of the morning. “The movement of people will remain strictly prohibited between 9 pm and 5 am, except for essential activities”, specify the new directives.

For individual districts such as Kodagu, where the test positivity rate remains above 5%, district authorities will decide to remove the curbs, Yediyurappa said.

“A separate decision will be made regarding the opening of schools,” he added.

All political, sporting, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious and other gatherings and large congregations functions, however, will remain prohibited in the state. Only marriages or family functions will be allowed with “no more than 100 people” and behavior appropriate to Covid-19, according to guidelines issued by the government.

According to a circular issued by Chief Secretary P Ravikumar on Saturday, special surveillance measures for arrivals from Maharashtra and Kerala will continue to be part of efforts to control the spread of the Delta-plus variant of the virus.

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