Over the last few weeks, COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra have risen at an alarming speed. As of Thursday morning the western state has gone under a lockdown of sorts, even as it combats a shortage of medical supplies and contends with more than 6.13 lakh active cases.
But what exactly are the parameters of this lockdown? To clarify, Maharashtra's Disaster Management, Relief and Rehabilitaion Department has released an FAQ of sorts, highlighting and responding to every query one might have. The document was signed by Principal Secretary Assem Gupta.
Here's all you need to know:
Can maids, drivers, cooks come to work ? Can they travel by local trains/ buses?
We have allowed local disaster management authorities to take a decision on it as various cities. urban and local areas have different situations and decision should be local.
Can people shift homes and use the services of movers and packers?
No. This is not in general a valid reason. What can be avoided and is not immediately essential must be avoided. If there is a very genuine reason and very essential, local disaster management authority may allow. This is expected to be very exceptional though.
Is travel within Maharashtra by private vehicle allowed?
Not without a valid reason, mentioned in the order. One may take a public transport - tickets are enough to move to and fro between stops/ stations of public transport vehicles and one's residence.
Will wine shops and cigarette shops be open?
No. No shops are to open unless a shop falls in essential category. These do not.
Will people be allowed to walk/jog/ cycle in the morning?
Will construction material stores like steel, cement , ready mix open available?
If a construction site is open as per orders, material movement is allowed in and out. Orders may be placed online/ telephonically and deliveries may be made to the location. But no shutters to be open for any material shop for conduct of business over the counter.
Will courier services be available?
Only for essential services.
NGOs conducting relief work for people and animals, can they function?
Not without consent of local disaster management authority. These may approach local disaster management authority and authority may allow them after due verification.
Can textile/ garment factories be allowed to stay open?
Will Maharashtra university MBBS exams continue as scheduled on the 19th April?
Conduct of all the exams shall be decided by concerned department and will be separately notified. This order means that if an exam is being conducted, hall ticket is the document to prove movement of a student and an accompanying adult to be a valid reason during these restrictions.
What qualifies as essential e-commerce?
All goods and services that qualify under the essential services mentioned in the order. For example all items that are needed for health or medical reasons, groceries, food items etc.
Can plumbers/ carpenters/ electricians work? Cleaning, disinfection, pest control? appliances repair technicians?
If it is unavoidable then water and electricity sere ices by private people are also allowed. Similarly cleaning, disinfection. pest control, as well residential or home appliance repairs may be be considered as essential. But it should reasonably be immediately needed. Principle is to discourage unnecessary movements while allowing necessary ones conveniently. It is expected that citizens will demand these services only if necessary today. Restrictions are not there for the sake of restrictions but to ensure safety of citizens as well as these service providers, and their families. If citizens use these allowance in right spirit, fellow citizens may get these services without any hinderance in the times of need. If these considerations are misused, we may have to control or deny it.
Will dental clinics function as essentials?
Stationary, book shops, will they be open?
Will travel agencies be open? Travel, visa, passport assistance be open?
Travel Agencies: Not open physically i.e. shutters are not going to be open. However they will continue to operate over internet. As far as visa/ passport assistance is concerned, we have allowed single window systems - like that of CSC-SPV in villages, Setu in collector offices. Visa/ Passport services, that are being run by government office's authorised agencies - to be considered a part of Government offices and thus these can operate on working days.
Are those ancillary Industries supplying to Essential manufacturers/ services allowed to operate as without their supply the production comes to a halt?
Principle has been enunciated as essential for essential is essential'. If there is any confusion industry department's decision shall be final.
Are only those workmen's / employee staying at walkable distance or same locality near factory allowed to work at the permitted units or can workmen from other municipalities or panchayats of Maharashtra can report to work. ( eg. Workmen staying in kalyan going to work in thane)?
In the case of industries producing essentials as per the Government Order dated I3th April, the workforce can travel. In case of other Industries, only those who provide accommodation to their labour either inside the campus of the facility or at an isolated facility from where travel to and fro to the facility happens in a isolated bubble can function.
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As all Exporters , importer, of all commodities are allowed to operate, can those who manufacture goods and offer services to exporters allowed to operate as well?
No. It is expected that imports shall be disseminated to final market only if these are essential goods, else post import these will have to he stocked. Similarly export of already created goods is to be done. For manufacturing of the goods to be exported. manufacturing will happen only if it falls within the ambit of order. If there is any exigency. industrial department can be moved.
Is Fresh Permission required to be obtained or last years permission to operate is good enough as proof to show it to authorities if required?
For containing operations, the industry/ manufacturing unit has to fall under the ambit of the Government Order dated 13th April, 2021.
For delivery of essential goods to stores is Rapid antigen test still required?
Can delivery of essential items like food be done post 8 PM -either by restaurants themselves or through e-commerce sites?
There is no restriction for essential services and home delivers timings as per order dated 13/4/2021. Times of operations for establishments is decided by local authorities. Home delivery is correspondingly within these times. Thus if regular operations' timings are beyond 8 PM, home delivery is permitted beyond 8 PM. Local authorities may, if so desired, vary these operations timings.
What about roadside eatable vendors?
In these locations both parcels and home deliveries (though home delivery from these is very rare) are allowed between 7 AM to 8 PM.
For very large housing society should we have whole of society under micro-containment zone?
If we have more than 5 cases in a campus we have to declare it a micro containment zone. If a society is very large, local authority should decide whether all the cases are in such limited area that can be practically isolated (no porous boundary) they may declare that as micro containment zone. Principle is to cover the area where ingress and egress maybe identified well and controlled, as finally we are islanding it for interactions. SOP of containment should be strictly implementable.
About what issues can local authorities may take out further orders?
Order dated 13th April 2021 speaks about certain areas where local authorities have been specifically asked to take out orders. For example I(f), 14(¢). These orders should be taken out immediately. This order also allows local authorities to include some services as essential and some services as exception services - these orders are to be taken out, if needed, at the earliest. These however should be taken out only after due deliberations and in exceptional circumstances. This order also asks local authorities to manage and supervise and even close down if so desired some special locations like under 3(e), S(e) and 13(a). Orders under this should be as per need and information of breach. Strict supervision for these is required as these locations can very fast become spreader of the disease. For restaurants and bars, working hours are decided by local authorities. If it is required or desired for the purposes of containment of COVID 19, these hours may be revised by the local authorities. There may even be need to extend these hours for the convenience of citizens. 5. If any local authority wants to take out any order implying further restrictions then mentioned in this order by GOM, it will do so only after consent of GOM.
Whether working of petroleum supplies locations/ aviation stations/ LPG bottling plants in all three shifts covered under essential services?
Are manufactures of Pharmaceutical machineries and equipments allowed to work?
Will essential services be allowed only between 7 am to 8 Pm?
These are allowed through out the day - 24/7. If these services are being provided by establishments that have been given timings of operations by local authority under some other act (like timings for restaurants in regular days) their operations may be allowed between those times. But there is no restriction under disaster management act.
Will general public be allowed to use local trains? What constitutes valid reasons?
Yes, if they have a valid reason to travel. Valid reasons are enumerated in the order - section (2).
Can private vehicles ply during the day time to work/ office? What constitutes 'valid reasons'?
If their offices/ works are allowed to operate in the order (essential as per section (2) or exemption as per section (5)), they can go by private cars and it constitutes a valid reason.
What about long distance trains?
These are essential services and will be on. Anyone may travel on it.