Mumbai: Amid rising COVID-19 and Omicron cases in Maharashtra, the State government on Friday imposed restrictions on gatherings from 9 pm to 6 am, prohibiting an assembly of 5 or more people. Maharashtra is the fifth state after Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh to introduce such curbs. The rationale behind the decision is to restrain groups from gathering in public spots such as Marine Drive and Juhu.
Chief Secretary Debashish Chakrabarty issued orders on fresh restrictions after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray held an urgent meeting with the Task Force on COVID-19 late Thursday night. The order will come into effect from midnight Friday.
Not just night-time restrictions, the Maharashtra govt has also imposed several curbs on normal gatherings ahead of Christmas and New Year festivities. Uddhav strongly justified the introduction of curbs in the wake of rapid spread of Omicron Variant. '‘At present, a few restrictions have been imposed; additional curbs will be introduced in future, after taking into account the extent of virus transmission. Every citizen should strictly follow COVID 19 norms, including use of masks, to avoid spreading the infection,’’ he said.
As per the curbs, the number of attendees in a closed hall for a wedding ceremony should not be more than 100 at a time; in open space this number should not be more than 250, or 25% of the capacity of the space, whichever is less.
For other social, political and religious events also, the number of attendees should not be more than 100 and in open space this number should not be more than 250, or 25% of the capacity of the space, whichever is less.
In the case of other functions, the total number of attendees for closed space should not exceed 50% of the capacity; it will be 25% of the capacity, wherein seatings are not fixed and are moveable. For such functions in open to sky spaces, the total number of attendees should not exceed 25% of the capacity declared by the Licensing/Permitting Authority.
In case of Sports Events/ Competitions, these may be held with the number of spectators not exceeding 25% of the seating capacity of the venue.
The government has clarified that restaurants, gymnasiums, spas, cinema halls and theaters will continue to operate at 50% of the capacity. These establishments shall necessarily declare prominently their full capacity as per license/permissions, as well as permissible 50% of this capacity.
In case of any activity that is not explicitly covered under these guidelines District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) may decide appropriate restrictions on the basis of local situation as deemed fit. In such a situation, DDMA must give adequate public notice before making such restrictions applicable.
Thackeray said the government decided to impose restrictions as the state has reported more than 1,000 positive COVID 19 patients in the last two days. ‘’As the Christmas festivities, weddings, and New Year's receptions are likely to increase the risk of contamination, the government has decided to impose additional restrictions across the state as per the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
The government’s move came on a day when the COVID 19 positive cases crossed 1,400 to 1,410 while the state reported 20 new Omicron Variant cases today taking the total to 108 cases. Of the 108 patients, so far, 54 patients have been discharged following a negative RT-PCR test.
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