More than three lakh shops on either side of the road, across Greater Mumbai, can now remain open for business seven days a week, including 2,844 liquor shops/outlets, serving customers wearing masks and observing proper social distancing norms.
BMC chief Iqbal Chahal issued a new set of relaxed lockdown guidelines on Monday, scrapping the odd-even rule and allowing shops on both sides of the road to remain open.
All non-essential markets, market areas and shops, will remain open from 9am to 7pm.
‘‘It is further directed that the movement of persons for the purposes of non-essential activities like shopping and outdoor exercises shall be restricted within the neighbourhood area limits with all necessary prescribed mandatory precautions of wearing masks, social distancing and personal hygiene,’’ said Chahal in the circular. ‘‘It is also directed that the unrestricted movement will be permitted only for attending place of work which are open.’’
‘‘Liquor shops will continue to operate across the counter for sale and home delivery with strict observance of Covid-19 national directives of mask and social distancing,’’ the circular said, adding that for violation of such directives, FIRs would be lodged against the owner of the shop and the person/s found violating the same and strict action would be initiated
The BMC move comes days after the state government allowed all malls and market complexes to reopen and function between 9am and 7pm from August 5, except for theatres, food courts and restaurants.
The Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association has heaved a sigh of relief, saying it would boost the business of shopkeepers. ‘‘Earlier, shops were allowed to remain open 12 days a month and it was not practical to open on alternate days since shopowners would then have to pay wages to their staff and rent to landlords. Shopkeepers in Mumbai were recording a paltry 15-20 per cent business. Now that shops can remain open daily between 9am and 7pm, they are relaxed,’’ said Viren Shah, the president of the association.
The Federation of Maharashtra has also welcomed the BMC’s move.