Kolkata: The West Bengal government on Friday allowed all shops and business establishments including bars and restaurants to remain open till usual working hours but not beyond 10.30 PM.

The relaxation will come into effect from Monday onwards. The state administration had on Thursday extended the existing COVID restrictions till August 31 but reduced night curfew timings by two hours, imposing it from 11 pm to 5 am.

It allowed outdoor government programmes with strict adherence to COVID protocols. The state administration also permitted theatres, auditoria and open air theatres to operate with not more than 50 per cent of their respective seating capacities.

“Stadiums and swimming pools may remain open with 50 per cent of their respective at a time,” the order stated.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced the extension of COVID restrictions along with night curfew relaxations on Thursday. A decision in this regard was taken following a review of the prevailing situation by the executive committee of the state disaster management authority.

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Meanwhile, the state’s COVID-19 tally rose to 15,37,185 as 739 more people tested positive for the infection, while eight fresh fatalities pushed its coronavirus death toll to 18,276, a health bulletin said.

North 24 Parganas district recorded the highest number of new cases at 89, followed by 88 in Kolkata. North 24 Parganas also registered the highest number of fresh fatalities at four, followed by three in Kolkata.

The state now has 10,109 active cases, while 749 more people were cured of the disease, taking the total number of recoveries to 15,08,800, the bulletin said, adding that the recovery rate has improved to 98.15 per cent.

West Bengal has tested over 1.63 lakh samples for COVID-19 thus far, including 45,442 in the last 24 hours.



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