MAHARASHTRA ON Monday further eased lockdown restrictions for 25 districts, including Mumbai. As per the new directives, shops in these districts will now be allowed to operate till 8 pm on weekdays against the earlier closing time of 4 pm.
In Mumbai, however, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation came out with its own set of guidelines allowing shops and other establishments to remain open till 10 pm, and hotels and restaurants to operate till 4 pm through the week.
As per the BMC order, all indoor and outdoor sports, excluding swimming pool and close-contact activities, will be allowed throughout the week. Film and television serial shooting will also be permitted as per the regular timings in the BMC limits.
On July 29, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had held a meeting with the State Covid Task Force and senior health department officials to discuss the easing of restrictions a day after the ministers demanded relaxations in the state cabinet meeting. The state had subsequently given indications that it would announce the relaxations soon.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had on July 31 held a review of the Covid-19 situation in 10 states, including Maharashtra, which were reporting a high positivity rate. Subsequently, the Centre had advised these states to impose strict restrictions on the movement of people.
Taking heed of the Centre’s suggestion, the Maharashtra government issued relaxation orders only for 25 districts in the state. These relaxations will not be applicable to the Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara, Pune, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Solapur, Ahmednagar, Beed, Raigad and Palghar districts which are reporting high positivity and growth rate of Covid-19 cases.
“These relaxations will come into effect from Tuesday. Even if the restrictions are relaxed in some districts, the citizens should follow the health norms and continue to wear masks in any situation,” said Thackeray.
All essential and non-essential shops (including shopping malls) can remain open all weekdays till 8 pm and till 3 pm on Saturday. All shops and malls except essential shops will remain closed on Sundays. Gymnasiums, yoga centres, hair cutting salons, beauty parlours, and spas can remain open without the use of air-conditioners and with 50 per cent capacity till 8 pm on weekdays and till 3 pm on Saturdays. These services will remain closed on Sundays.
Besides, all the restaurants can remain open with 50 per cent seating capacity till 4 pm on weekdays, subject to adherence to all Covid-l9 protocols. No changes in parcel and takeaway services have been imposed.
All the government and private offices have also been allowed to operate with full capacity. “Staggering of work hours to be done to avoid crowds while travelling. Offices that can function through working from home should continue to do so,” said the order. Also, all agricultural activity, civil works, industrial activity, and transportation of goods can remain functional at full capacity.
However, the government has not given any relief to the cinema theatres, drama theatres and multiplexes (independent and inside malls) and they will remain closed till further orders. Also, all places of worship in the state will remain closed till further orders.