Maharashtra, which has been recording below 25,000 Covid-19 cases daily for some time now, was hopeful that the Uddhav Thackeray government may lift the curbs. However, state health minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday said that the lockdown will not be lifted but some relaxations will be given. He added that the residents are being infected with the new variant and positivity rate in 21 districts is higher than the average. The details of the fresh curbs with be worked out with task force soon.
Sources had earlier told News18 that the lockdown is likely to be extended for a week, following which restrictions may be lifted in phase-wise manner. The decision will be taken during Thursday’s cabinet meeting.
The trader bodies have been requesting the government to unlock the state as they have been witnessing ‘zero income’ for months. According to a report in Mumbai Live, the Chamber of Associations of Maharashtra Industries and Trade (CAMIT) chairman Mohan Gurnani said that the lockdown due to the second wave has broken our backs.
“We do not have reserves in hand, unlike last year. Moreover, we have to pay for all the expenses despite 'zero income'. We have already suffered huge losses from the beginning of the pandemic, which is since the last 15 months. If the lockdown continues, we might not be able to pay salaries to our staffs anymore. Besides, even the labourers and small scale traders have no income or earnings since over last 50 days,” he was quoted as saying.
How will Maharashtra be Unlocked
Source told News18 that state cabinet is mulling over two propositions. One, whether phased unlocking should start from June 7 or June 1. They further revealed that the opening up of the state will take place in four phases.
First phase will see opening of non-essential shops in a staggered manner. A report in India Today stated, shops will be allowed to function from 7 am to 2 pm.
The report further stated that in phase two, permission to open a few more shops related to daily requirements will be given. These shops will be allowed to open on alternate days. In phase three, hotels, permit rooms, beer bars, liquor stores will open with restrictions. Hotels will not operate at full capacity, likely to start with a cap of 50 per cent. A decision on Mumbai local and religious places including temples may be taken in phase four, the India Today report stated.
The final decision on whether phased unlocking should start from June 1 or from June 7, will be taken in the cabinet meeting. However, keeping in mind the virus, schools and colleges will continue to remain shut. Local trains will resume plying in the last phase of unlocking.
What’s Open and Shut in Maharashtra
– All the establishments, public places, activities, services shall remain closed, save as explicitly mentioned herein below.
– Services and activities mentioned in Essential Category herein below are exempted and their movements and operations are to be unrestricted.
– Services and activities mentioned in Exceptions Category herein below are exempted from 7 AM to 8 PM on working days and their movements and operations are to be unrestricted during these periods.
– Decision regarding inclusion of domestic help/ drivers/ attendants to work in Exceptions Category be taken by the local authorities based on local conditions.
ESSENTIAL CATEGORY INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING 1) Hospitals, diagnostic centers, clinics, vaccinations, medical insurance offices, pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies, other medical and health services including supporting manufacturing and distribution units along with their dealers, transport and supply chain. Manufacturing and distribution of vaccines, sanitizers, masks, medical equipment, their ancillaries, raw material units and support services.
2) Veterinary Services/ Animal Care shelters and pet food shops
3) Groceries, vegetables shops, fruit vendors, dairies, bakeries, confectionaries, all type of food shops.
4) Cold storage and warehousing services
5) Public transport: airplanes, trains, taxis, autos and public buses.
6) Services related to functioning of offices of Diplomats of various countries
7) Pre-monsoon activities by local authorities
8) All public services by local authorities.
9) Reserve Bank of India and services designated by RBI as essential
10) All offices of SEBI-recognised market infrastructure institutions such as stock exchanges, depositories, clearing corporations, etc, and other intermediaries registered with SEBI
11) Services required for restoration/ maintenance of telecom services
12) Transport of goods
13) Water. Supply services
14) Agriculture-related activities and all allied activities required to ensure seamless continuity of the agricultural sector, including availability of farming input, seeds, fertilisers, equipment's and repairs thereof.
15) Export-import of all commodities
16) E-Commerce (only for the supply of essential goods and services)
17) Accredited media
18) Petrol pumps and petroleum-related products, including offshore/onshore production
19) All cargo services
20) Data Centers/ Cloud Services/ IT services supporting critical infrastructure and services
21) Government and private security services
22) Electric and gas supply services
24) Postal services
25) Ports and related activities
26) Custom house agents/ Licensed multi-modal transport operators associated with movement of vaccines/lifesaving drugs/pharmaceutical products.
27) Units producing raw material/packaging material for any essential services
28) Units that are engaged in production of materials for impending rainy season for individuals as well as for organisations.
29) Any services designated as essential services by local disaster management authority.
Implementing agencies must follow these general principles about above mentioned services:
1. All enforcing authorities to note that fundamentally strict restrictions relate to movement of people but not to goods and commodities as a matter of principle.
2. All the requirements of movement for performance of services mentioned m this section are valid reasons for travel under 1(b).
3. Incidental activities that are required for performance of these services by concerned personnel or organization are to be considered as essential themselves . Principle is ' essential for essential is essential'.
3. Shops falling under essential services as mentioned in this order shall follow following guidelines:
a. Essential services shops to operate while ensuring COVID-appropriate behaviour by owners, staff working there at as well as customers in the shop premises.
b. Essential shops owners and person working at all shops to get vaccinated at the earliest, as per criteria of GOI. All shops are advised to follow safety measures like interaction with customers through a transparent glass or other material shields, electronic payment etc.
c. Any essential shop owner, person working there at or any customer found defaulting on above requirements shall be punishable by a fine of Rs 500 and if the shop is found serving a customer who is defaulting on proper behaviour, the shop will be fined Rs 1,000 In case of repeated defaults, a shop may be ordered to be closed till end of notification of COVID-19 as a disaster.
d. Movement of personnel to perform duties related to essential shops shall constitute a valid reason for the purposes of 1(b).
e. For groceries, vegetables shops, fruit vendors, dairies, bakeries, confectionaries, all type of food shops etc. mentioned in 2(3) above, local authority should study the locations where these are densely located or where people may come together in large numbers and plan out their staggering in terms of locations and if need be in terms of periods of operations. Open public spaces may also be identified for shifting their operations, in case of non-permanent structures. Local authorities are expected to take all the measures to ensure these essential operations do not become a place that facilitates spread of COVID-19. If so deemed necessary, local authorities may also declare some locations as closed for these operations.
f. All shop owners that are closed for now are advised to get all persons working with them to get vaccinated as per criteria of GOI as well as prepare themselves with measures like interaction with customers through a transparent glass or other material shields, electronic payment etc. so that government can expedite reopening of the same without fear of COVID-19 transmission.
4. Public Transport will be fully operational with the following restrictions
AUTO RICKSHAW Driver + two passengers only
TAXI (FOUR-WHEELERS) Driver+ 50% vehicle capacity as per RTO
BUS Full seating occupancy as per RTO passing. However, no standing passengers will be allowed.
a) All persons using public transport to compulsorily wear mask in a proper manner barring which fine of Rs 500 will be imposed on the offenders.
b) In four-wheeler taxis, if any one person is not wearing mask, the offender and the driver of the taxi will be fined an amount of Rs 500 each.
c) All vehicles to be sanitised after every trip.
d) All public transport – drivers and other staff coming into contact with the public to get vaccinated at the· earliest, as per criteria of GOI and must display exemplary COVID-appropriate behaviour. For taxis and autos, driver should be encouraged to iso late himself or herself through use of a plastic sheet or otherwise.
e) Movement of personnel to perform duties related to public transport shall constitute a valid reason for the purposes of 1(b).
f) In the case of out-station trains, railway authorities to ensure that there are no standing passengers in the general compartment and all passengers use masks.
g) Fine of Rs 500 to be levied in all trains for non-compliance with COVID-appropriate behaviour.
h) Public transport that bas been allowed with some conditions also includes all incidental services that are essential for the smooth functioning of all modes of public transport. This also includes all incidental activities that are required at the airport including handling of cargo, ticketing etc.
i) Persons arriving/ departing by any bus/ train/ flight from or towards place of residence may travel on basis of a valid ticket through public transport.
RECREATION, ENTERTAINMENT, SHOPS, MALLS, SHOPPING CENTRES ETC a) Cinema halls to remain closed.
b) Drama theatres and auditoriums to remain closed.
c) Amusement parks/ arcades/ video game parlours to remain closed.
d) Water parks to remain closed
e) Clubs, swimming pools, gyms and sports complexes to remain closed.
f) All persons connected with these establishments should get vaccinated at the earliest, as per GOI guidelines so that reopening of these may be achieved at the earliest without fear of spread or acceleration of COVID-19.
g) Shooting for films/serials/advertisement to be closed.
h) All shops, malls, shopping centers not performing essential services shall be closed.
i) Public places like beaches, gardens, open spaces etc shall remain closed. In case of any public arena that may belong to any of the uses mentioned herein, local authority may decided about continuation or discontinuation of its use during the operation of this order.
RELIGIOUS PLACES OF WORSHIP a) Religious Places of Worship to remain closed.
b) All the personnel engaged in the service of the place of workshop shall continue to perform their duties though no outside visitor shall be allowed.
c) All staff that may work in these places are advised to get vaccinated at the earliest, as per GOI guidelines, so that reopening of these may be expedited.
BARBER SHOPS/ SPA/ SALON/ BEAUTY PARLORS a) Barber shops/spas/salons and beauty parlours to remain closed.
b) All staff that may work in these establishments are advised to get vaccinated at the earliest, as per GO! guidelines, so that reopening of these may be expedited.
SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES a) Schools and Colleges to remain closed.
b) Rule is hereby relaxed for class 10 and 12 students to the extent of exams. All the staff that may be used for conduct of exams must be either vaccinated or should carry a negative RT-PCR/ RAT/ TruNAT/ CBNAAT certificate , valid for 48 hours.
c) For exams that are being conducted by any board, university or authority outside the state, denial of which may lead to hardships for students residing in Maharashtra may be allowed by concerned department under intimation to concern disaster management authority.
d) Students who have to attend any exam physically, may be allowed to travel along with one adult, on basis of a valid hall ticket for the same.
e) All private coaching classes of any kind to remain closed.
f) All staff that may work in these establishments are advised to get vaccinated at the earliest, as per GOI guidelines, so that reopening of these may be expedited.
RELIGIOUS, SOCIAL, POLITICAL, CULTURAL FUNCTIONS a) No religious, social, cultural or political functions of any kind to be allowed.
b) In case of districts where elections are scheduled to be held, the permission may be granted by the District Collector for any political gatherings subject to the following conditions-
a. The District Collector can authorize the Returning Officer to give permission for any political gathering for the purpose of campaigning within the guidelines of the Election Commission of India subject to no more than 200 people or 50% occupancy whichever is less being allowed in any enclosed space and 50% of the capacity be allowed in open spaces subject to complete adherence to all laid down COVID 19 protocols as per the Central Government guidelines.
b. There should be personnel deputed by the Collector for overseeing any such event to ensure scrupulous adherence to all protocols.
– In case of marriage being conducted inside a place of worship, it will be allowed to do so with adherence to the above rules.
-Funerals to be allowed a maximum of 20 people. All the staff should get vaccinated at the earliest and should carry a valid negative COVID-negative certificate.
Funerals may also be performed at places of worship with strict adherence to the said rules.
E-COMMERCE a. E-Commerce will be only allowed for the delivery of essential goods and services as mentioned in Section 2 of this order
b. Every one engaged in the activity of home delivery or activity involving interaction
with staff engaged in activity of home delivery to get vaccinated at the earliest as per criteria of GOI and if an Organization running e-commerce falls in the eligibility criteria of GOI for workplace vaccination it must organise these vaccination camps at the earliest. For the staff not engaged in home delivery or in the activity of requiring interaction with staff engaged in home delivery shall follow the discipline laid down in (5) concerning offices.
c. All the home deliveries to buildings housing more than one family is expected to be restricted to the entrance of the building and internal movement of the delivery should be by dedicated staff of the building . It is also expected that all the interactions of home delivery staff and the building personnel are disciplined and COVID appropriate.