Maharashtra shuts eateries, malls, curbs travel

The rapid spread of Covid-19 finally forced the Uddhav Thackeray government to announce lockdown-like restrictions across the state from 8pm on Monday. On weekends, a complete lockdown will be imposed.

A state government notification issued late on Sunday said all shops except essential services would remain shut till the end of the month, leaving people only Monday to buy non-essential goods this month. Restaurants will be allowed to operate only takeaway and home delivery services during the day hours. Night curfew will be on every day from 8pm to 7am.

Gatherings of five or more persons will be prohibited during the daytime — 7am to 8pm — on weekdays. No religious, social, cultural or political functions of any kind will be allowed. The state decided it would conduct board exams, but all schools, colleges and private tuition classes would remain closed.

Vaccinations will continue all days of the week, including weekends.

The notification gave an exemption from the restrictions to essential services like hospitals, diagnostic centres, pharmacies and other health services, grocery, vegetable and food stores, trains, public buses, taxis and autorickshaws, all public services by local authorities, goods transportation and agriculture-related services, e-commerce and accredited media. Banking, insurance, telecommunication and mediclaim offices will also be exempted.

Private vehicles, including private buses can ply as usual from 7am to 8pm from Monday to Friday, and in emergencies or on essential service duty from 8pm to 7am on weekdays and 8pm on Friday to 7am on Monday.

The government said essential services should ensure social distancing between customers on their premises. “Malls, restaurants and bars will remain closed, but takeaway service will remain in operation,” minister Nawab Malik said after a cabinet meeting. “Government and semi-government offices will run with 50% capacity while private offices will have to go for ‘work from home’.”

Public transport will operate at 50 % capacity. Autos and taxis will be allowed two passengers. There will be no standing passengers allowed on buses and local trains.

Gymnasiums, salons and beauty parlours will remain shut. Only restaurants and bars inside hotels and which are an integral part of the hotel will remain open. On weekends, only home delivery services will be allowed between 7am and 8pm — no person may visit any restaurant or bar.

In districts where elections are to be held, permission may be granted by the district collector for any political gathering subject to certain conditions.

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