Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has made certain changes in the Union government's lockdown 3.0 order, keeping the ground realities in mind. It has accordingly allowed the reopening of standalone liquor shops even in red zones, except in containment areas.
Likewise, standalone shops of non-essentials, electronic, mobile and stationery retail outlets can open in red zones, outside the containment areas. But these shops should not be part of any mall or restaurant. These guidelines will be effective from May 4.
Business hours for these shops will be decided by the local authorities, based on the situation in their respective areas. With this spirited move, the state government aims to set the economy ball rolling.
As per the directive of the Home ministry, shops selling liquor and tobacco products would have to ensure that a 6-feet distance is maintained between two customers; also, it cannot allow more than five people at a time. There are well over 1,000 containment areas in the state.
The state government has further clarified that shopping malls and plazas, hotels and restaurants and shops in the markets will continue to keep their shutters down. More important, only five shops of non-essential goods can remain open in each lane and the local civic administration can take a decision in this regard.
However, there is no such restriction for shops selling essentials. Haircutting salons and beauty parlours are also not allowed to operate.
Principal Secretary Bhushan Gagrani explained that the state government has divided the red zone into areas under the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad and Malegaon municipal corporations and others.
There are 14 districts in the red zone, 16 in the orange zone and six in the green zone. Of the 14 red zone districts, five are in the MMR, Pune and Malegaon, where curbs have been tightened over the last two weeks.
Nine other districts have been allowed some activities, but with restrictions. "Even in the red zone districts, there are some areas where coronavirus infection has been not prevalent for over a month. These areas are known as non-containment zones.
Such non-containment areas will have some relaxation, where shops selling non-essential commodities, like clothes, footwear, liquor, stationery, among others, will be opened," Gagrani said. The decision has been taken after discussions with the Centre, he said.
As reported by The Free Press Journal on Sunday, the state government has reiterated that if labour is available in situ, private construction can be carried out in regions deemed red zones. The developer will have to make residential arrangements for the workers. However, in containment areas, construction activity is not permitted.