COVID-19 in Maharashtra: Hotels, malls must follow norms to avoid new lockdown, says CM Uddhav Thackeray

On a day when new 1,708 COVID-19 positive cases were reported in Mumbai and 15,602 cases in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday, in an ultimatum, asked the hotel, restaurant and mall operators to strictly follow norms to avoid a fresh lockdown.

Expressing serious concerns over the crowding, lack of compliance of COVID-19 norms and SOPs, Thackeray said it will not be tolerated as there is a possibility that the daily positive cases may surge to 25,000 by April.

His message was “Control crowding and keep safe distance.” He gave the example of crowd management successfully carried out at the Siddhivinayak Temple.

Thackeray at the video conference with the representatives of hotel, restaurant and mall associations said, “The situation is still under control but hotels, restaurants and malls should abide by the rules and not be forced to carry out strict lockdowns.”

The CM pointed out that the high incidence of infection was witnessed especially in the slums. “This time, however, it is visible in buildings, bungalows, societies. This is because this section of the society has started visiting each other in the last few days, going to hotels, malls, so it is spreading among all the members of the family. Therefore, self-discipline is a must,” he noted.

Thackeray said the administration of some hotels, malls and restaurants across the state seems to have relaxed in the implementation of COVID-19 rules. “SOP must be followed properly and strictly. Not all people are breaking the rules, but those who do not follow certain rules are putting others at risk. We also don't like to lock down everything. We have started this economic cycle. If everyone cooperates, the infection can be prevented, so don't be forced to impose strict restrictions like lockdown," he opined.

AHAR - Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association president Shivanand Shetty told Free Press Journal, “The CM has asked to be more responsible, form zone-wise squads for following COVID-19 norms and be more vigilant to curb crowding.”

He further said, “To arrest further spike in cases and prevent another lockdown, in our capacity as industry association we have been requested by the Chief Minister to form an internal group to maintain vigil and ensure that existing SOPs for the industry are followed. We have been complying with all the SOPs so far and extend our full support to the state administration in this measure too and hope that we don’t face another lockdown which will be very detrimental for the industry.”

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