New Delhi, Apr 25: A month into the nationwide lockdown to check the spread of the novel coronavirus or COVID-19, all shops in residential areas – except those in the malls – have been allowed to reopen from today with conditions by the government. The Union Home Ministry’s late night order – that says masks, gloves and adherence to social distancing norms will be mandatory – comes as a huge relief to the shopkeepers and buyers. However, with public transport still closed, employees of shops that can re-open could still find it tough to get to work.
“All registered shops regd (registered) under Shops & Establishment Act of respective States/ UTs, including shops in residential complexes, neighborhood & standalone shops exempted from #lockdown restrictions,” the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a late-night order, adding that “shops in single and multi-brand malls” are not exempted.
“Market complexes, except those within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, are allowed to open,” the order reads.
Market complexes, except those within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, are allowed to open.
Only 50 per cent of the staff will be allowed in these shops. The relaxations are not applicable to hotspots and containment zones.
In rural and semi-rural areas, all shops and markets that are registered can open as per the order. In cities, only standalone shops and residential shops can open. Salons, barber shops can reopen, but not if in a market complex. Standalone tailor shops in residential complexes can open.
Malls and cinemas, gymnasiums, sports complexes, swimming pools, bars and auditoriums and liquor stores continue to remain shut.
At least two states – Delhi and Assam – have said they will not allow shops to be opened till assessing the situation. While Delhi will hold a review later today, Assam will assess the situation on Monday.
Across India, more than 24,000 people have coronavirus, over 700 have died due to the highly contagious illness, which originated in China’s Wuhan city in December and spread across the world within months. A nationwide lockdown to check its spread began on March 25; it was extended to May 3 last week.
Earlier this week, the government eased the “total shutdown” in non-containment zones to give a boost to economic activity in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call.
India’s doubling rate of coronavirus cases has improved to 10 days, from 7.5 days reported earlier this week, the centre said on Friday, suggesting that the lockdown has been a success.