In a major relief to the public at large, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in its latest order issued on Friday night, permitted the shops providing non-essential goods and services to open from Saturday (April 25) onwards. With the latest order from the government, the registered neighbourhood and stand-alone shops have been permitted to open amid the coronavirus lockdown.
The shops that are allowed to open during the coronavirus lockdown from Saturday include those located in residential complexes within and outside the limits of municipalities and municipal areas. However, market complexes within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities will not open from Saturday.
The concession, however, has not been extended to shops in market places, multi-brand, and single-brand malls located in municipality areas, coronavirus hotspots and containment areas.
The opening of shops selling non-essential goods and services from Saturday, according to the order released by the MHA in a modification of its April 15 order, will be subjected to the conditions that they will run with 50 per cent strength of workers, wearing of masks and following social distancing.
As the government order has now allowed some economic activity, here’s a list of what will remain open and what will remain closed from Saturday:
What will remain open
1. All shops registered under the Shops and Establishment Act of the respective State/Union Territory, including shops in residential complexes and market complexes, outside the municipal corporations and municipalities, will be allowed to open.
2. Neighbourhood shops, standalone shops, and shops in residential complexes, within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, will be allowed to open.
3. Shops located in registered markets located outside the municipal corporations and municipalities can open only with 50 per cent staff and following the drill of social distancing and wearing masks.
4. The local salons and parlours will be allowed to operate from Saturday.
5. In rural and semi-rural areas, all the markets have been allowed to open.
6. In urban areas, non-essential goods and services will be allowed to operate provided they are in residential areas or is a standalone shop.
7. In rural areas, non-essentials services can be sold in all kinds of shops.
8. Market complexes, except those within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, are allowed to open.
9. All small shops in the neighbourhood will be allowed to open amid the coronavirus lockdown.
What will remain closed
1. Shops in multi-brand and single-brand malls outside the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities will not open.
2. Shops in market complexes, multi-brand and single-brand malls within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities will not open from Saturday.
3. Cinema halls, malls, shopping complexes, gymnasiums, sports complexes, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls will remain shut.
4. Big shops/brands/market places will remain shut.
5. In urban (municipal) areas, market complexes will not open.
The MHA relaxations are not applicable to hotspots and containment zones.
As for the liquor shops, the home ministry has clarified that alcohol comes under a separate clause and not under the Shops and Establishment Act of the respective State/Union Territory.
The home ministry’s order to reopen neighbourhood shops providing non-essential services comes on the eve of the holy month of Ramzan is being seen as a relief to people who have been under lockdown since March 24 to contain the spread of novel coronavirus.