The Tamil Nadu government on Monday announced more restrictions as part of its COVID-19 containment strategy, including a ban on running shops other than those selling essentials like vegetables and provisions. An official release said with effect from May 6 to 20, vegetable and provision shops located in commercial complexes have to remain closed while standalone shops can be open only till noon with 50 per cent customers. "Besides the above mentioned provision and vegetable shops, all other shops are barred from being open.There is no bar on shops selling essentials like milk and medicines," it said, while pointing out at the sharp increase in coronavirus cases. All government and private offices can run with 50% staff attendance while the seating capacity in metro rail, private buses and taxis should be confined to 50%. Restaurants can sell only takeaways while tea shops can remain open only till noon and customers cannot sit and have food at such places, it said. All kinds of social, political, sports, educational, entertainment are being banned during this period while cinemas will remain closed. There was a cap of 20 persons in death related events. Further, spas in containment zones in rural areas should also remain closed. Earlier, the state government had banned the operation of salons and spas in urban areas. Activities allowed during the night curfew of 10 pm to 4 am including travelling to airports/railway stations, milk distribution and health services and fuel outlets will continue to be allowed to function. Continuous Process Industries and Industries Manufacturing Essential Commodities, besides telecom companies can continue to operate during the night curfew. Citing the surge in COVID cases, the release said the active infections stood at 1.23 lakh and the restrictions were being implemented in line with the Centre's directives on containing the spread of the pandemic, it said, adding, the curbs were "unavoidable".