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Sunday, December 5, 2021
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Maharashtra: Shops, eateries can be open till 10pm from Aug 15; rethink on schools likely

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After announcing that it will allow fully vaccinated people to travel in local trains in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) from Independence Day, the Maharashtra government on Wednesday rolled out a few more relaxations from Covid-19 lockdown rules. Shops, malls, restaurants can now operate till 10pm from August 15, while private offices can operate 24X7 with staggered shift hours. Employees in shops, establishments and offices, however, will have to be fully vaccinated. With the likelihood of a third wave hitting the state, the government also made it clear that the entire state will be put under immediate lockdown if the demand for oxygen reaches 700 metric tonnes (MT) daily.

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Religious places and theatres, multiplexes and auditoriums will remain shut till further orders, the state has said.

Public health minister Rajesh Tope announced more relaxations after the state cabinet meeting on Wednesday. The new set of relaxations will be applicable even to 11 districts that have higher number of daily Covid cases and high test positivity rate. These districts had been exempted from the eased lockdown norms last month. The positivity and growth rate in these districts have now come down, as per the presentation made to the state cabinet on Wednesday.

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Shopping malls have now been allowed to open for businesses and can operate till 10 pm. However, the mall management will have to ensure that all their employees are fully vaccinated and the same rule is followed while allowing customers to step inside their premises. The onus of checking the certificate for full vaccination will be on the management. The hotels and restaurants, which, too, can operate till 10pm, from the current timing of 4pm, will have to ensure that their employees are fully vaccinated and they are masked at all times. Restaurants, gymnasiums and spas are allowed to operate at 50% of their capacity.

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The number of people allowed to attend wedding ceremonies has been increased to 200 if it’s taking place at open place like lawns, while the number of attendees is restricted to 100 or 50% of the sitting capacity if the venue is enclosed one. Indoor games have been allowed till 10pm provided that everyone including players on the premises are fully vaccinated.

Private offices, too, have been allowed to operate at their full capacity and for 24X7, provided the office timings are staggered and the employees are fully vaccinated. “The offices can operate at 25% of their capacity per shift and the employees are fully vaccinated. The private offices are for the first time allowed to operate day and night, but they should follow the Covid-19 protocol,” Tope said.

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