A worker cleaning lobby of a mall before its reopening on August 5, at Palladium, in Mumbai on Thursday.
A worker cleaning lobby of a mall before its reopening on August 5, at Palladium, in Mumbai on Thursday.

The novel coronavirus pandemic had brought India to a halt as a lockdown was imposed and people were urged to follow social distancing norms. Beginning from March 25, there were several successive lockdowns. In recent days however, restrictions have been eased greatly, and while containment zones remain under lockdown, most areas are returning to normalcy.

On Monday the Centre issued guidelines for yoga institutes and gyms to follow as they welcome back patrons. This outlines various generic precautionary measures to be adopted in addition to specific measures to be taken at yoga institutes and gymnasiums to prevent spread of COVID-19.

Now, Mumbai's Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has released a notification announcing further relaxation of restrictions. From August 5, malls and market complexes will be allowed to operate from 9 am to 7 pm. Theatres, food courts and restaurants within their premises however will not be open. The kitchens of restaurants will be allowed in malls where only home delivery via aggregators will be done.

According to the BMC notification shops will have to ensure social distancing and will not allow more than five people at a time. Large gatherings remain prohibited, and for events such as funerals or weddings the maximum number of guests should not exceed 50.

Spitting in public places will be punishable with a fine and the consumption of liquor, paan, tobacco, etc in public places is prohibited.

The BMC urges people to work from home whenever possible and states that "staggering of work / business hours will be followed in offices. workplaces, shops, markets and industrial and commercial establishments".

All government offices, excluding a few essential services, will function with 15% strength or 15 persons whichever is higher. "All private offices can operate up to 10% strength or 10 people, whichever is more," the notice said.

Mission Begin Again: BMC issues new guidelines; Mumbai malls to reopen from August 5

"All essential shops which are allowed to remain open before this order shall continue to do so. All non-essential shops will be allowed to continue as per relaxations and guidelines issued," the BMC said.

"All non essential markets, market areas and shops will remain open from 9 am to 7 pm. Liquor shops will continue to operate across the counter for sale and home delivery with strict observance of COVID -19 National directives," it added.

According to the directive, barber shops, spas, saloons and beauty parlors with continue to be operational with guidelines as stipulated by the State government.

"Outdoor non team sports like golf courses, outdoor firing ranges, outdoor gymnastics, outdoor tennis, outdoor badminton and malkhamb will be allowed with physical distancing and sanitation measures with effect from 5th August, 2020. Swimming pools will not be allowed to operate," the notice clarifies.

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Free Press Journal