Political rallies, dharnas and demonstrations have been banned in poll-bound Uttarakhand till January 16 in view of the rising coronavirus cases, according to an official order.
In fresh guidelines issued late Friday night that come into effect from Sunday, Chief Secretary SS Sandhu said all political rallies, dharnas, demonstrations and public events like cultural gatherings etc will remain suspended in the state till January 16.
The Uttarakhand High Court had recently asked the Election Commission to see if poll rallies could be held virtually and if online voting was possible. Assembly polls in the state are due in a few weeks and the Election Commission may announce the dates this month. Covid cases have been constantly on the rise in Uttarakhand with single-day cases crossing 800 mark on Friday after several months.
Anaganwadi centres and schools upto class XII besides swimming pools and water parks will also remain closed during the period, the order said.
However, gyms, shopping malls, cinema halls, spas, saloons, entertainment parks, theatres and auditoriums will remain open during the period with 50 per cent capacity.
Night curfew from 10 pm to 6 am will continue during which essential and emergency services can operate with strict adherence to Covid protocol, said the order.
Covid-appropriate behaviour such as wearing of masks, maintaining social distancing and hand sanitisation in public places is compulsory.
For people coming to Uttarakhand from outside who are not vaccinated with two doses it will be mandatory to carry a negative RT-PCR test report not older than 72 hours, the order said.