With Maharashtra under the vice-like grip of the lethal coronavirus, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government on Sunday announced a “week-end lockdown” across the state till April end, besides stringent weekdays norms, to combat the pandemic’s resurgence.
The decision was taken at an emergency Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, after he held detailed discussions with all stakeholders over this weekend.
The night curfew, and weekdays restrictions start from April 5 (Monday) and weekend curfew would commence on Fridays at 8 p.m. and end at 7 a.m. on Mondays till April 30, said Mumbai Guardian Minister Aslam Shaikh.
While public transport in Mumbai including local trains would continue to run as usual, all private offices will be closed with emphasis on Work From Home (WFH) to minimise crowds. Those exempted include banks, stock markets, insurance, pharmaceuticals, telecom, water, electricity and disaster management departments.
Fifty per cent attendance norms return to all government offices with clearance of department heads and all meetings to be conducted online.
The new rules and guidelines – clamping curfews at night and stringent restrictions under Section 144 clamped during day – will come into effect from April 5.
Over the last two days, Thackeray held wide ranging consultations with a cross section of society to get their views before toughening the norms.
He also spoke with Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis and his estranged cousin and MNS President Raj Thackeray.
An official spokesperson said that care has been taken not to disturb the state’s economic recovery cycle, not to inconvenience workers and labourers, but ensure that there is no overcrowding anywhere.
All agricultural, industrial manufacturing, production activities will be allowed but private offices, places of worship, restaurants, bars, pubs, cinemas, malls, shopping plazas, beauty parlors or gents salons, beaches, gardens, playgrounds, swimming pools, sports complexes, amusement parks, and other crowded places shall be shut.
Restaurants/bars attached to hotels can remain open only for guests staying there, but food-parcel delivery services shall be permitted from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
However, essentials like grocery, vegetable, milk and medical shops will remain open and all shopkeepers have been directed to get themselves and their staffers vaccinated as soon as possible.
Though public and private transport is permitted, autorickshaws and cabs can take only 2 passengers, and no one standing will be permitted in public or private buses.
E-commerce activities, newspaper production and distribution shall be allowed, but schools and colleges will be shut barring the students appearing for the Class 10 and Class 12 exams, as all exams for Class 1-Class 8 have already been cancelled with direct promotions to students in the Maharashtra Board.
Film or television shootings can continue without crowds and Covid-19 test certificates are mandatory for all staff and people at the shoot venues.
Building activities will be permitted provided the workers have accommodation at the construction sites and only transport of materials shall be allowed, no workers shall be removed and if anybody avails sick leave, it will be with full pay.
In housing societies in major cities like Mumbai, Thane Pune, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Nashik, etc, if more than 5 patients are found, the entire building will be declared as a ‘mini-containment’ zone and no outsiders shall be permitted.
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