Coronavirus outbreak: No clarity on whether Mumbai shops can open

Updated: Apr 26, 2020, 07:09 IST | A correspondent | Mumbai

State government says more clarity post Monday VC between CM and PM

Mumbai authorities fear that with more shops opening, social distancing will be even more tough to enforce. Seen here is a vegetable market in Ghatkopar East. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Mumbai authorities fear that with more shops opening, social distancing will be even more tough to enforce. Seen here is a vegetable market in Ghatkopar East. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

The state will wait for another two days to take a decision on whether standalone shops in Maharashtra can open or not. This, despite a statement by the Ministry of Home Affairs allowing for the same. The state government hasn't issued any circular regarding the same and more clarity on the issue is expected on Monday. The municipal corporations in the MMR region are awaiting the state's order.

In a statement on Friday night, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs declared that all standalone and neighbourhood shops and the shops inside residential complexes would be allowed to remain open so long as they kept only 50 per cent of the workforce and ensured social distancing. However, markets and shopping malls would still be shut. This is an amendment to the April 15 guidelines on lockdown measures, so it can be implemented any time but the final decision would have to be taken by various state governments.

However, the Maharashtra government hadn't issued any orders till Saturday evening. "The state needs clarification on some issues. There are many containment zones in the urban areas and clarity is expected after the CM's video conference meeting with the PM on Monday," said an official from the state government.

"There are over 900 containment zones in Mumbai alone. Mumbai Metropolitan Region and Pune are in red zones and opening [of shops on large scale] may not be possible in these areas," said a deputy municipal commissioner, BMC.

Among the doubts that need to be clarified are would barber shops come under the category of standalone shops? Besides, once such shops open, observing social distancing would be tough in a densely populated city like Mumbai.

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