Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Friday (May 29) said the current phase of the lockdown, scheduled to end on May 31, should be extended till June 15 considering the overall COVID-19 scenario in the country since the case count has crossed the 1.6 lakh-mark.
Sawant, who spoke to Union Home Minister Amit Shah over the phone on Thursday (May 28), said he had suggested an extension of the lockdown for another 15 days during the conversation, but sought relaxations for Goa during the period.
The Chief Minister said Goa will pitch for relaxations like allowing reopening of malls, restaurants, and gyms in the state during the lockdown period. He said all these sectors (gym, mall and restaurant) can open with 50 per cent of their staff capacity and by strictly adhering to social distancing norms and other protocols related to curbing the coronavirus spread.
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Sawant said the state government is waiting for fresh lockdown guidelines from the Union home ministry, which are expected to be announced on Saturday (May 30). “Only after understanding those guidelines, we will come to know whether Goa is allowed to give certain relaxations,” he said.
Sawant said Goa will be the most preferred holiday destination in India in the post-COVID-19 era. “Compared to rest of the tourist places in the country, Goa will be the more preferred destination for domestic and international travellers,” he said.
The fifth phase of the lockdown is likely to offer more relaxations regarding the reopening of public spaces including malls, restaurants, and gyms.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to make an announcement on the extension of the lockdown in his monthly Mann Ki Baat radio programme on Sunday (May 31).
(With inputs from agencies)