The Maharashtra government on Monday announced new guidelines for easing lockdown restrictions in those districts where the COVID-19 positivity rate is low. The relaxations will come into effect from Tuesday morning.
The government announced further relaxations of coronavirus curbs in 25 districts showing low positivity rate of the infection, extending the existing business timings of shops and allowing shopping malls to operate in these districts.
The state government has asked the disaster management authorities in Mumbai and Thane districts (which figures among 25 districts with a low positivity rate) to decide on their own set of restrictions.
Many traders in the state and the Opposition BJP have been demanding that the timings of shops be extended till 8 pm from the current deadline of 4 pm.
The order said that the restrictions in certain districts which are on Level 3 will continue. Those districts are Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara, Pune, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Solapur, Ahmednagar, Beed, Raigad and Palghar districts.
Apart from these, in all the other districts, the existing restrictions have been revised.
All COVID 19 protocols including masks, social distancing must be scrupulously followed across the state by all the citizens. Failure in stringent adherence to the same will result in action on the defaulters under relevant sections of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the Epidemic Act and Section 1860 of the Indian Penal Code.
All essential and non-essential shops (including shopping malls) remain open all weekdays till 8 pm and till 3 pm on Saturday. All shops and malls except essential shops remain closed on Sundays.
All public gardens and playgrounds can be kept open for the purpose of exercise, walking, jogging and cycling.
All government and private offices can be operational with full capacity. Staggering of work hours to be done to avoid crowds while traveling. The offices that can function through working from home should continue to do so.
All agricultural activity, civil works, industrial activity, transport of goods can remain functional at full capacity.
Gymnasiums, yoga centers, hair cutting salons, beauty parlours, spas can remain open without the use of air-conditioners and with 50 percent capacity till 8 am on weekdays and till 3 pm on Saturdays. The said services will remain closed on Sundays.
All cinema theaters, drama theaters and multiplexes (independent and inside malls) to remain closed till further orders.
All places of worship in the state remain closed till further orders.
The orders of the State Education Department and the Higher and Technical Department will be applicable for schools and colleges
All restaurants will remain open with 50 percent seating capacity till 4 pm on weekdays subject to adherence to all COVID l9 protocols. Parcel and takeaway to be allowed as is allowed currently.
Restrictions on movement will be applicable from 9 pm to 5 am.
In order to avoid crowding, restrictions imposed on birthday celebrations, Political, Social and Cultural events, elections, election campaigning, rallies, protest marches are to be continued..
Mumbai's civic body allows shops to open till 10 am, film shoots to resume
Mumbai civic body decided to allow all shops to remain open till 10 pm on all days and okayed resumption of shooting for films and television serials besides sports activities. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) order is silent on allowing commoners to travel in suburban trains despite Mumbai reporting a low number of new COVID-19 cases.
Restaurants and hotels can function till 4 pm only, the order said. The civic body also allowed all the indoor and outdoor games and sports clubs to operate except for swimming and other games where physical contact may take place. They can operate on all seven days as per regular timings, the order said. All government, as well as private offices, can operate with full capacity, the guidelines said.
Uddhav Thackeray seeks people's cooperation in following norms
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had said his government will issue orders on Monday allowing shops to remain open till 8 pm in the districts where the COVID-19 positivity rate is low.
He said allowing all segments of the society in Mumbai local trains would be difficult "in the first phase" as the easing of curbs is being done slowly.
Speaking to reporters in Sangli, some 230 kilometres from Pune, Thackeray sought cooperation from people in areas where relaxing the norms was not possible currently due to the caseload.
Thackeray said the pandemic situation in the 11 districts with not so encouraging COVID-19 indicators was a cause of worry.
"I have asked district collectors to increase the number of tests as well as doctors to ensure people are protected for COVID-19 as well as water-borne diseases," he said.
Speaking on the issue of medical oxygen, the chief minister said as per an estimate, the amount of medical oxygen required in a possible third wave might be double of what was needed in the second wave, when Maharashtra had to procure it from other states.
He appealed to the private sector to split office timings to reduce attendance in their premises at any one point of time, as well as opt for work from home and work in office turn by turn.
With inputs from PTI