COVID-19 in Maharashtra: Government issues new guidelines; bans social, cultural, political and religious gatherings

Not more than 50 people will be allowed to be present at weddings and not more than 20 for last rites

Sanjay JogUpdated: Monday, March 15, 2021, 11:27 PM IST
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Spectre of second COVID-19 wave looms large over Maharashtra: New cases cross 15,000-mark; 1,646 cases in Mumbai | File Image

Days after the Centre observed that the spurt in Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra was due to reduced testing, tracking and tracing, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government on Monday issued new guidelines banning social, cultural, political or religious gatherings in the state. “Violation shall also attract penalties under the Disaster Act for the owner of premises. The property shall also have to remain closed till the period until COVID 19 pandemic stays notified as a Disaster by the Central Government,” said the order issued by Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte.

Not more than 50 people will be allowed to be present at weddings and not more than 20 for last rites, said the guidelines.

Cinema halls (single-screens and multiplexes), hotels and restaurants can only operate at 50 per cent capacity. “No entry will be allowed without masks. Concerned establishments will ensure the presence of enough manpower to enforce wearing of masks as well as maintaining social distance by all visitors at all times,” read the government guidelines.

The government also advised work from home. “All offices except those related to health and other essential services shall work with 50 per cent attendance. Any office found in violation shall be closed until the Covid-19 pandemic stays notified as a disaster by the Central Government,” it further read.

According to the government, the management trusts of all religious places would decide and declare the maximum number of visitors per hour, depending on the availability of space for movement and gathering with proper social distancing. “It is advised that convenient systems like online reservations for visits may be initiated,” it said.

These guidelines will remain in force till March 31, 2021, for the containment of Covid-19 in the state. However, the guidelines are silent on the imposition of a fresh statewide lockdown or night curfew, especially in Mumbai, as the government has left these decisions to the respective district and civic administrations. The orders came on a day when there were 15,051 new cases were detected, bringing the number of active cases in the state to 1,30,547.

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