Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday announced the imposition of Section 144 from Wednesday in view of rising COVID-19 cases. Thackeray, who addressed the people of the state, said the government was imposing "strict restrictions" which will come into effect from 8 pm tomorrow till May 1.
Under the new guidelines, all establishments, public places, activities will remain closed in the state. Only essential services will be exempted, and their operations to be unrestricted.
The guidelines said that cinema halls, theatres, auditoriums, amusement parks, gyms, sports complexes will remain closed till Section 144 is imposed in the state. Local train and bus services will be allowed for essential services only and hotels and restaurants will allow only take-away home deliveries. Petrol pumps, financial institutions associated with SEBI, and construction work will continue.
Meanwhile, many on social media are wondering whether the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) comes under the ambit of essential services. For the uninitiated, 10 IPL matches are supposed to be played at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium. Two matches have already been played and eight are remaining. The last of these remaining eight matches will be played on April 25. So, how come IPL matches are being played even after the government has announced lockdown-like restrictions?
Speaking to the Free Press Journal, a Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) official on conditions of anonymity, said the new COVID-19 curbs has go nothing to do with the IPL. "I don’t think the lockdown has to do anything to do with the proceedings as there are no spectators and all the people (involved in the matches) are in the bubble," said the official. "All the groundsmen at the venue are stationed there and all their requirements are met," he added.
Mumbai will be next hosting the match between Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Capitals on Thursday and then on Friday, Punjab Kings and Chennai Super Kings will lock horns with each other.