The Maharashtra cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, on Wednesday decided not relax the Level 3 curbs across the state, amid genuine fears of the third wave of Covid-19. This means the general public would need to wait to commute by Mumbai suburban trains, and that all shops must close at 4 pm.
However, the state has relaxed the RT-PCR test conditions for air travellers. Those who have completed their vaccination won’t need to show negative test reports to fly into Maharashtra.
Even though Maharashtra reports lowest rate of virus outbreak compared to the other states, the cabinet was unanimous in putting the spotlight on stepping up corona management measures and Covid-appropriate behaviour.
Public health minister Rajesh Tope said, “There will be no change in the prevailing curbs imposed on the timings of shops and travelling by local trains. The government is focusing on inoculation of as many people as possible in the state. There are 96,543 cases in ten districts – Pune, Thane, Sangli, Kolhapur, Mumbai, Satara, Ahmednagar, Raigad, Solapur and Nashik.” A total number of 3,75,16,773 beneficiaries have received vaccination. “There is inadequate supply of vaccine doses in Maharashtra and the state government is pursuing a higher supply,” said Tope, adding that the state expects four crore doses by August.
The minister expressed serious concerns over crowding at tourist destinations and markets after Level 5 restrictions were relaxed to Level 3 in all districts. “If people continue to flock to tourist spots and markets, the Union home ministry has instructed the states to impose strict restrictions once again,” he noted.
As per Level 3 curbs, essential shops and establishments can remain open till 4 pm on all days, non-essential shops and establishments can remain open till 4 pm on weekdays, restaurants will be allowed dine-in facility with 50 per cent capacity till 4 pm on weekdays and takeaways and home deliveries after that. Further, use of suburban trains will only be for medical staff and personnel engaged in essential services. Gyms and salons will remain open till 4 pm at 50 per cent capacity.