Two orders on Section 144 restrictions issued by the Mumbai police to curb overcrowding during the Christmas and New Year festivities have caused confusion among shop and hotel owners.
Issued in the wake of COVID-19 and Omicron variant, the Mumbai police’s December 13 guidelines said that for programmes, events, gatherings, or activities, only up to 50 per cent capacity would be allowed in closed and open spaces. However, the order was modified on December 14, which said in closed spaces, 50 per cent capacity is allowed whereas in open spaces only 25 per cent capacity of people is allowed.
Viren Shah, President of Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA) told The FPJ that the guidelines have caused massive confusion among organisers of parties and events for New Year’s and is resulting in cancellations. “All events till December 31 are getting cancelled as the police will give no permission for parties or events. There is confusion regarding the decreased outdoor percentage capacity as the doctors suggest that the spread of the virus is higher in closed spaces than open spaces. Another confusion is about the maximum crowd of a 1000 people being allowed. It is not clearly mentioned if it's with respect to a specific amount of area.”
“The instructions should be made more clear, as it will affect many businesses in this holiday season. It is also discouraging people to go out and shop,” he added.
According to the guidelines, if there are any gatherings with more than thousand people, then the organisers have to automatically inform the local disaster management authority and seek its permission.
Aman Samani, Managing Partner at Samani Decorators, said, “For two years our business was already hampered and now these new restrictions are affecting us a lot. The limitation on the capacity of people reduces the revenue. People are booking their wedding destinations in other states which have less restrictions and that is affecting our business. The guidelines are also very confusing and full of ambiguity. We are waiting for a clearer set of guidelines from the government.”
These guidelines promoting COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) came into effect from December 16, and will remain valid till December 31. The guidelines state that organisers, customers, guests, participants of all events in public places have to be fully vaccinated, and all establishments must be manned by fully vaccinated people. The guidelines also state that anyone using public transport also needs to be fully vaccinated. Any person travelling to Maharashtra needs to be either fully vaccinated or carry a negative RT-PCR report taken 72 hours prior to travel.
ALSO READMumbai: Commuters on western side of MCGM skywalk now to have access to all platforms of Grant Road...
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)