Assam imposes tough COVID curbs, extends curfew hours in urban areas

The Standard Operating Procedures will be applicable from 5 am of Thursday until further orders


The Assam government on Wednesday issued fresh SOPs (standard operating procedures), extending curfew timings amid the COVID-19 surge of late, particularly in the urban areas, and in a bid to break the virus transmission chain in the state.

The SOPs will be applicable from 5 am of Thursday until further orders.

The curfew will come into force from 2 pm to 5 am in the urban areas of Assam until further orders, while the same will be applicable from 6 pm in the rural areas.

“All shops and commercial establishments shall shut down by 1 pm on all days. However, in the rural areas, shops will close by 2 pm. Weekly haats and bazaars shall not be allowed for 15 days,” the guidelines read.

Restaurants, dhabas and other eateries can entertain dine-in guests only up to 1 pm after which only home delivery of food will be allowed. Restaurants operating within a hotel or resort can allow outside guests up to 1 pm only after which only in-house guests may be given room service.

Delivery of essential goods through e-commerce may continue with observance of COVID appropriate behaviour.

Cold storages and warehouses may continue after 1 pm. However, sale counters, showrooms, etc, attached to these warehouses or cold storages shall not operate after 1 pm.

Pharmacies, hospitals, animal care centres and veterinary clinics may operate without restrictions being providers of essential and emergency services.

“In case the test positivity of COVID-19 in any area reaches 5 per cent or more in the last one week, the district magistrate will notify such areas as containment zones and ensure necessary containment measures,” the SOPs read.

All educational institutions, including schools, colleges and universities must provide quality virtual options. No physical classes shall be allowed for 15 days.

All offices, both government and non-government, shall remain closed for 15 days. However, the rule is not applicable for organisations rendering essential/emergency services, law enforcement services and election work. 

All religious places will remain closed for 15 days. However, the religious head of a religious place or his representative may perform minimal religious rituals/prayers.

Marriages and religious functions will be allowed with the presence of a maximum of ten persons. No reception parties will be allowed pre or post marriage.

Funerals and last rites related gatherings shall not exceed 10 persons.

“All public transport will be allowed to operate with only up to 30 per cent of seating capacity. Auto-rickshaws, cycle rickshaws and taxis shall operate with one driver and two passengers. Pillion riding will be prohibited in two-wheelers, except with women and children,” the guidelines read.

“All vehicles other than government vehicles will be allowed to ply following an odd-even formula to be decided by the jurisdictional District Disaster Management Authority between 5 am to 2 pm. However, this restriction shall not apply to personal vehicles used for medical emergencies,” it read.

There shall be a total ban on the movement of individuals from 2 pm to 5 am daily except for exemptions specified in the ASDMA order issued earlier on May 4, 2021.

Assam chief secretary Jishnu Barua announced the fresh SOPs along with state DGP, Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta at a media conference in Guwahati on Wednesday. 

It may be noted that in accordance with the previous order, the night curfew in the state was effective (till Wednesday) from 6 pm to 5 am while shops and markets were allowed to be open till 2 pm.

(Edited by Aparmita Das)

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