Uddhav Thackeray lifts all COVID-19 restrictions in Maharashtra from April 2

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. File

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday announced lifting of all COVID-related restrictions from April 2, marking Gudhi Padwa, the Marathi new year. The use of mask would also be voluntary.

The decision to lift all restrictions was unanimously taken at the Cabinet meeting. “We thank each and every one for cooperating with the government in these difficult times. It is new year and we embark on a new beginning,” said Mr. Thackeray. “While we lift all the restrictions, we urge citizens to voluntarily follow measures such as use of mask and physical distancing,” he said. 

Processions to be allowed

The decision comes two years after the restrictions under the Epidemic Act were first imposed in 2019. The government has been maintaining that it will lift the restrictions at appropriate time. The decision would mean double vaccination certificate is no longer required for travel in local trains or entering shopping malls, theatres. Hotels, restaurants, swimming pools can now run at a pre-COVID timetable. In addition, processions for upcoming festivals such as Gudhi Padwa, Ramzan, Ambedkar Jayanti will also be allowed.

Health Minister Rajesh Tope said the use of mask was voluntary now. “While we lift all the restrictions put under the Epidemic Act, we strongly recommend citizens to get double vaccinated and also to voluntarily use masks for their own safety,” said Mr. Tope.

The decision comes on the background of series of festivals lined up in the month of April, starting from Gudhi Padwa on April 2. A number of cities in the State host colourful processions on the occasion welcoming the new year. The COVID restrictions had raised doubts on the arrangements of ‘Shobhayatras’ with the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) threatening to carry out processions irrespective of restrictions. April 3 also marks the beginning of Ramzan month followed by Ram Navami on April 10. April 14 marks the birth anniversary of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and April 15 will be Good Friday.

Maharashtra Minister Jitendra Awhad told reporters that use of mask would be voluntary from April 1. “Celebrate festivals with enthusiasm since the restrictions have been lifted,” he said.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2022 7:21:19 pm |