Bhubaneswar: People of Odisha's Ganjam district have been advised to use the ubiquitous umbrella as a tool for maintaining social distancing, besides beating the heat.
Ganjam district Collector Vijay Amruta Kulange shared a cartoon picture in a twitter post, showing how a brolly enforces a distance of around 1.5 metres between two persons and thereby helps check the spread of coronavirus infection.
"I thought that an umbrella automatically creates social distancing for the user. If one uses an umbrella, it will automatically create a distance of 1.5 metres from another person. This apart, use of umbrella will also help beat the heat," the 2013 batch Odisha cadre IAS officer told PTI over phone.
A panchayat of Kerala's Alappuzha district had earlier made carrying an umbrella mandatory for anyone going to a public place to enforce the social distancing norms
"Besides, people have to abide by norms such as wearing masks and washing hands frequently, as there is no medicine or vaccines for COVID-19 yet," the Ganjam collector said.
Kulange was the first officer in Odisha to make mask-wearing mandatory after the outbreak of the disease. He also introduced the rule of "no mask, no grocery" in Ganjam district. Later, petrol pumps across the state followed it.
The Odisha government also issued a notification later imposing a fine of Rs 200 on people for not wearing masks in public places.
The Ganjam collector has also imposed a penalty for spitting in public places as a measure to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the district.
Meanwhile, the state home department in a notification has empowered the Commissionerate of Police, Bhubaneswar- Cuttack, to impose a fine up to Rs 500 on those violating social distancing norms in the state capital and Cuttack city.
"Officers above the rank of ASI of Police are hereby empowered for compounding offences under these regulations which include a fine that may extend to Rs 500," an official order of the home department said.
The regulation will come into effect from May 1 and will continue for a period of 60 days, unless revoked or extended.
The notification clarified that social distancing norm is essential when the lockdown is lifted as people are likely to make congestion in market places.