Karnataka Shelves Plan to Open Temples & Hotels, Opens Border With Special Rules for Maha Visitors

Deepa Balakrishnan

Bengaluru: Karnataka on Sunday shelved its plans to reopen hotels, places of worship and malls by a week in keeping with the central government guidelines on Unlock1.0, even as it opened up its borders to allow people to travel in freely, as long as they kept to norms on home quarantine. The special rules will apply on all except those from Maharashtra.

The state which has prided itself on keeping Covid-19 transmission in control, on Sunday saw its highest single-day spike of 299 cases. A bulk of the cases — more than 80 per cent — were reported from among those who returned from Maharashtra. These were mostly migrant workers who had returned to their native districts of Yadgir, Udupi, Belagavi or Bidar in North Karnataka just across the border with Maharashtra. In fact, this has been consistent for over two weeks now that about 80 per cent of fresh cases have been reported from among the Maharashtra returnees.

Although until now all those who came from three high-risk states — Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra — were asked to go for institutional quarantine compulsorily, the new guidelines on Sunday restricted mandatory seven-day institutional quarantine to only Maharashtra. Those coming from all other states will be asked to go for home quarantine for 14 days.

Those with Covid-negative reports will be allowed to skip institutional quarantine.

Transit travellers from Maharashtra or any other state must show proof of their travel tickets to their destination state.

As for business travellers, they won't need to abide by quarantine rules, but must show confirmed return tickets of within seven days from arrival, and address proof of their native state. Business travellers from Maharashtra — by road, rail or flight — need to bring Covid-negative certificates that are not older than two days prior to their travel to Karnataka, else they will be required to stay in institutional quarantine for two days and get tested at their own cost during this time.

All travelers —anyone at all who wants to enter Karnataka —must register on the government website with their mobile numbers, failing which they will not be allowed to enter.

While the state has been keen on restarting many activities after two months of lockdown, it has decided to postpone opening of places of worship, hotels and restaurants, and malls to June 8 going by central guidelines.

Apart from this, companies and industries can resume operations from June 1 with 100 per cent capacity as long as they keep to social distance norms.

Like the rest of the country, Karnataka has not yet decided on when to reopen academic institutions. Board exams for class 12 and 10 will be held in June, schedules for which have already been announced.

There is no decision on when swimming pools, gyms will open either.

Public transport has begun in a restricted manner, although Bangalore Metro is yet to resume operations.

The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation said that it will run about 3,500 buses on Monday, as against its pre-lockdown routine of 8,500 buses.