Coronavirus | Neighbourhood, standalone shops can open in urban areas

Residents standing at a distance from each other while waiting for their turns to buy rations during first day of "National Lockdown-21", in Kolkata on March 25, 2020   | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) clarified on Saturday that all shops in rural areas, except those in malls, could open. In urban areas, all standalone and neighbourhood shops and those in residential complexes are allowed to open but not those in markets, market complexes and shopping malls.

The MHA said that all restaurants, salons and barber shops would remain closed as they “render services” and relaxation given under lockdown restrictions pertain only to shops selling items.

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In a statement, the MHA added that liquor shops continued to be prohibited and e-commerce platforms could only be used for the sale of essential items.

After MHA order issued the order late on Friday, it had to issue two subsequent clarifications on Saturday as people were confused as to what it implies. Since the kind of shops that will be allowed to open was not specified in the order, people took to social media to know if mechanics, garages, beauty salons and restaurants will also be allowed to function.

Several district officials said they would stick to the ongoing restrictions and will not immediately implement the order.

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Manoj Parida, advisor to Administrator of Union Territory of Chandigarh said on Twitter that Chandigarh being a containment zone “neighborhood non-essential shops opening will not happen till 3rd May.”

Coronavirus | Neighbourhood, standalone shops can open in urban areas

Piyush Singla, the Deputy Commissioner of Udhampur district in Jammu and Kashmir said that queries had poured in for opening of shops and “it is clarified, present ongoing setup shall continue till any further communication. Anyone violating the directives shall be booked as per law.”

Assam’s Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna said no further relaxation like opening of shops, beauty parlours etc., to the ongoing lockdown has yet been decided by Government of Assam and a decision in this regard will be taken only on April 27 after analyzing the ground situation.

In an order issued late on Friday, the MHA made amendments to the April 15 consolidated revised guidelines on lockdown measures issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, to allow the States to decide on the additional public activities to be allowed from April 20 in non-hotspot zones. It said the additional facilities will have to be based on strict compliance to the existing guidelines on lockdown measures.

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“This order implies that in rural areas, all shops, except those in shopping malls, are allowed to open,” the statement said.

“In urban areas, all standalone shops, neighbourhood shops and shops in residential complexes are allowed to open. Shops in markets/market complexes and shopping malls are not allowed to open. It is clarified that sale by e-commerce companies will continue to be permitted for essential goods only,” the Ministry specified on Saturday.

Sale of liquor and other items continued to be prohibited, as specified in the National Directives for COVID-19 management, it said.

Containment zones

It is specified in the consolidated revised guidelines that these shops would not be permitted to open in areas, whether rural or urban, which are declared as containment zones by the respective States and Union Territories, the Ministry added.

An official said that the final decision on opening of shops would have to be taken by the State governments.

The country has been placed under a lockdown till May 3. On April 15, the MHA issued an order allowing additional activities in non-hotspot or red zones.

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The shops would have to follow social distancing measures and could open with 50% staff, and wearing of masks was compulsory, the order said.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 1:23:11 PM |

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