Easing the lockdown further, the Maharashtra government on Thursday opened up inter-district travel for those residing within the limits of municipal corporations in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).
The State also altered the norms for private sector offices that can function from June 8, and shops or markets that can open from Friday. Newspapers can also be delivered from June 7, while educational institutions have been allowed to carry out non-teaching functions, including development of e-content, evaluation of answer sheets and declaration of results.
The country’s commercial capital Mumbai’s bustling office hubs are mostly manned by staff from neighbouring districts like Thane for whom travel to workplaces will be difficult in the absence of suburban train services. So road travel without passes from the MMR has been permitted.
“Shops on one side of the road will open on one day, while shops on the other side on the next day,” as per the new norms. Municipal Commissioners and Police Commissioner have been asked to work in tandem with the shop owners associations for smooth enforcement of above norms and of social distancing and traffic management. This is set to be effective from June 5.
In the revised guidelines, Maharashtra government has allowed all private offices to operate with up to 10% of full staff strength or 10 people (whichever is higher) from June 8. Employers have been advised to educate employees about precautions to be taken while travelling so that vulnerable groups, especially the elderly, are not infected.
The Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association welcomed the move to allow newspaper home deliveries and has issued guidelines to 60,000 cooperative housing societies to permit the same.
“The newspaper ensures that correct information reaches public at large in a relevant and balanced manner,” the association said, stressing that it is a challenge to get authentic information presently.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had said on May 31 that the State will relax the lockdown in a phased and cautious manner, so that the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t spiral out of control.