After being shut for 47 days, private sector firms resumed work with reduced workforce and as many as 34 types of businesses, a chunk of which are standalone retail shops, reopened on Monday in non-containment zones of Tamil Nadu and the makeshift Tirumazhisai vegetable market became functional in Chennai.
As a result, vehicular traffic and movement of people on roads saw a consequential increase in most parts of the state including rural regions, the State capital and key cities like Coimbatore, Madurai, and Tiruchirappalli.
The tea stalls, which are ubiquitous in the State, opened at 6 am in the morning with several performing pujas before starting business.
However, only takeaway services are allowed.
Two-wheeler and car sales and service showrooms also resumed work.
Retail outlets engaged in sales and service of a range of items like motors, mixie, grinder and television also started functioning again.
Private sector firms could be seen functioning with reduced workforce across the State.
On May 9, the government had said that in Chennai city and suburbs, all private sector companies can operate between 10.30 am and 6 pm and in the rest of Tamil Nadu, firms can work from 10 am to 7 pm.
However, the workforce shall be confined to 33 per cent of the strength, the government had said.
Following the closure of Koyambedu market after its emergence as a hotspot recently, the makeshift vegetable market,meanwhile, became functional at Tirumazhisai near Poonamallee in Chennai with over 300 trucks delivering veggies to the wholesale market.
Traders, vendors and truck drivers were screened by health workers before their entry into the new market place.
Dry cleaners, lorry parcel booking service firms, photocopying shops, courier service companies, plywood shops, saw mills, paint stores also reopened.
At 6 pm on March 24, all retail shops including liquor outlets were closed when lockdown was first implemented and from May 4 relaxation was first given by the government for select retail and standalone shops to reopen.
Such outlets include those involved in building material, computers, mobile phones, electrical and electronic goods, optical and stationery.
From Monday, the curbs have further been eased to include as many as 34 kinds of trades, some of which became functional on May 4 like mobile phone and computer stores.
Shops and other businesses allowed to work now -during the last week of the third phase of lockdown that ends on May 17 -- encompasses most outlets frequented by people for daily use including household appliance outlets.
However, big showrooms like textiles and jewellery with centralised air conditioning are not allowed.
Smaller cloth and jewellery outlets in rural areas are permitted to function.
Also, the government extended the timings for groceries and vegetable shops from the present 5 pm till 7 pm effective Monday throughout Tamil Nadu and these outlets started work from 6 am as usual.
Extended timings for standalone shops also came into force on Monday.
In Chennai, they can function from 10.30 am till 6 pm as against the previous cut off time of 5 pm.
In all other parts of the State, these category of shops can be open between 10 am and 7 pm.