Unlock 3.0: Navi Mumbai does U-turn, shuts malls
NMMC officials say their progress in COVID fight will come undone if they go easy on rules and regulations
The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) on Thursday had a sudden change of mind about the reopening of malls, which were asked to shut down again just a day after resuming business. The civic body fears that COVID-19 cases would rise if people are allowed to assemble at enclosed spaces so soon.
With strict measures and new guidelines for the customers, malls reopened on Wednesday as part of the state government's latest phase of 'Mission Begin Again'. The NMMC had, on July 31, issued an order allowing malls to operate some stores and restaurants for take-away from 9 am to 7 pm.
Malls opened their gates after over four months, but only a few visitors came, owing to the heavy downpour. But even before the stores could wait for things to improve over the next few days, the NMMC on Thursday issued a fresh order for malls to close again until further orders.
Raghuleela Mall outside Vashi railway station. File pic
"Navi Mumbai is aggressively fighting with infectious disease, and recently, we have witnessed a positive change in the situation. On Wednesday, 1,113 COVID-19 patients recovered. Also, the number of people testing positive for novel Coronavirus has reduced despite an increase in the testing," said an NMMC official.
So far the NMMC has reported 17,318 COVID-19 cases, including 361 confirmed on Thursday, and the death toll has risen to 446 with five new casualties. On Thursday, 429 people were discharged after a full recovery, taking the total recovered tally to 12,903.
"Next two weeks will definitely change the fate of the city, therefore, we don't want to take any risk that can undo our hard work of four months," the official added.
In a July 31 order, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation had allowed malls to reopen from August 5. A civic official said the mall will be reopened when the situation improves. File pic/ Sameer Markande
Navi Mumbai has seven big malls that witnessed thousands of visitors daily in the pre-COVID-19 time. The civic officials asserted that malls would not remain shut for long.
Meanwhile, Panvel Corporation, with only one mall under its jurisdiction, has decided to continue with the order against reopening of the mall till the situation improves.
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