Break the chain order tweaked, RAT testing option for non-vaccinated workers
(Photo by AFP)

The Maharashtra government on Friday amended its ‘Break the Chain’ restrictions order, allowing Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) as a testing option, in addition to the RT-PCR test. This will be applicable to non-vaccinated staff in various sectors, including public transport/ private transport/shootings for films, serials, advertisements, home delivery services, staff conducting examinations, staff at marriage venues, staff at funeral venues, vendors of eatables, labourers/ workers/ staff in the manufacturing sector, e-commerce staff and staff involved in permitted construction activity, RBI.

This rule will come into effect from April 10, the order read. In its earlier order dated April 4, the government had made it mandatory for the non-vaccinated staff in these sectors to have RT-PCR tests done, which would be valid for 15 days.

The amendment was made after a series of representations from various organisations to the state government, citing procedural issues.

Further, the state government has also allowed the Aaple Sarkar Seva Kendra, SETU, CSC Centres, SETU Kendra and Passport Seva Kendras to remain open on weekdays between 7am and 8pm.

The government has also brought in more clarity in the definition of newspapers, saying these also include magazines, journals and periodicals.

The government’s order came at the start of the mini lockdown, which began at 8pm today (Friday) and will end at 7am on Monday.

Further, the government said any establishment selling essential items as per the government orders dated April 4 and 5, 2021 could remain open between 7am to 8pm, subject to strict adherence to Covid-19 appropriate behaviour. If an establishment is selling multiple items, some of which do not fall under the essential item category, that section may remain closed.

All activities categorised under essential services can remain open. No person can move out without a valid reason, which includes reasons specified in the order as well as the reason for requirement of performing an essential service.

According to the government, the APMC could be functional on weekends. This will be subject to strict adherence to Covid-19 appropriate behaviour. If the local authorities feel that indiscipline in any APMC could lead to further transmission of the virus, then they could shut down the same after seeking permission from the state government. It is expected that local authorities will keep a strict vigil over these.

Citizens can buy liquor. “In accordance with the government order dated 4'h April, 2021, citizens can buy liquor from bars (on take away basis) or as home delivery from the bars as per the time window provided in the said order for restaurants and bars. This is subject to rules of the Excise Department,” the government order said.

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