Friday, September 17, 2021

Maharashtra eases COVID-19 restrictions

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday announced that shops will be permitted to remain open till 8 p.m. on weekdays instead of 4 p.m. in the districts where COVID infections have reduced. He said, restrictions will continue in those districts where the infection is still on rise. For Mumbai local trains, the Chief Minister said that allowing all segments of society would be difficult in the first phase as the easing of curbs was being done slowly. Mr Thackeray, however, appealed for cooperation from people in those areas where relaxing the norms was not possible currently due to the caseload.

The State Government released new guidelines under its Break the Chain order today in this regard. According to the new guidelines, the restrictions that have been imposed through Break the Chain Orders dated 4th June and 17th June for level-3 will be continued for 11 districts including Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara, Pune, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Solapur, Ahmednagar, Beed, Raigad, and Palghar. It further said amongst the above districts, considering the higher number of positive cases and higher emergence of fresh cases in Sindhudurg, Satara and Ahmednagar the respective Disaster Management Authorities have been directed to impose effective restrictions in the said districts.

The guidelines further added that the decision regarding reducing the currently imposed restrictions in Mumbai, Mumbai Suburban and Thane districts to be taken by the Disaster Management Authorities of the said districts.

Apart from these 14 districts, in all the other districts, all essential and non-essential goods shops (including shopping malls) have been allowed to remain open on all weekdays till 8 P.M. and till 3 P.M. on Saturday. All shops and malls except essential shops will 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 travelling.

The guidelines further said the offices that can function through working from home should continue to do so. It said, all agricultural activity, Civil Works, Industrial activity, transport of goods can remain functional at full capacity. Gymnasiums, Yoga Centres, Hair Cutting salons, beauty parlours, Spas can remain open without use of air-conditioners and with 50 per cent capacity till 8 P.M. on weekdays and till 3 P.M. on Saturdays. The said services will remain closed on Sundays.

All cinema theatres, drama theatres and multiplexes (independent and inside malls) will remain closed till further orders. All places of worship in the state will also 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 per cent seating capacity till 4 P.M. on weekdays subject to adherence to all COVID- 19 protocols. Parcel and Takeaway will be allowed as is allowed currently. Restrictions on movement will be applicable from 9 P.M. to 5 A.M. In order to avoid crowding, restrictions imposed on birthday celebration, Political, Social and Cultural events, elections, election campaigning, rallies, protest marches will be continued.

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