The Government yesterday announced regulations for  both state and private sector organizations to resume work and for people to access essential services with effect from 4 May.

State organizations including Departments, Corporations and Boards as well as factories,  construction enterprises, offices, vegetable and fish stalls and retail outlets belonging to the private sector will be permitted to function from next week.

Only 1/3rd of the total workforce of each state organization such as Departments, Corporations and Boards are required to report for work with the head of each organization tasked with ensuring  that  only the minimum required number of employees are detailed for  work  per day.

All the employees of the state sector who are not required to report for work should work from their homes.

Buses belonging to Sri Lanka Transport Board and  railway carriages are permitted to transport only  employees who are reporting for work and those commuting for other essential and urgent needs.

Members of the public will be allowed to leave their homes only to purchase essential items such as food and medicines and they have been advised to select the closest outlet located within walking distance from their homes to make such purchases.

The Government has also introduced a staggered system  for people to leave their homes which is based on the last digit of their National Identity Card (NIC) number.

Accordingly, those with No. 1 or 2 as the last digit of the National Identity Card can leave their homes on Mondays.

The rest is as  follows:-

Tuesday                  : People with No. 3 or 4 as the last digit of their NICs

Wednesday            : People with No. 5 or 6 as the last digit of their NICs

Thursday                : People with No. 7 or 8 as the last digit of their NICs

Friday                     : People with No. 9 or 0 as the last digit of their NICs

The government announcement said that COVID – 19 preventive health recommendations should strictly be adhered to during office hours, in public transport and inside shops.

These include wearing masks, washing hands from time to time and maintaining social distancing. The Police and the security forces will vigilantly observe whether these guidelines are followed.

Traveling between districts will be  strictly limited only to official and other essential purposes.

Schools, universities, tuition classes and other education institutes and cinemas will remain closed until further notice.

Any area where the curfew has been relaxed but happens to be identified as a high risk village or a zone, the curfew may be re-imposed limited only to such an area. No one will be permitted to enter or leave areas designated as isolated.

All functions, pilgrimages, recreational trips , carnivals, processions and meetings are banned until further notice. Since the congregation of people is a hindrance to the preventive measures to control the spread of the virus, the Government also requests that all religious festivals be suspended.