The government of Maharashtra has announced strict guidelines including imposing section 144 during the day, night curfew, as well as weekend lockdowns to control the spread of COVID-19 till April 30.
These guidelines come two days after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that he did not want to bring about a lockdown in the state but would be forced to impose stricter guidelines to curb rising cases of COVID-19 in the state.
Maharashtra has been reporting more than 40,000 cases for the last four days and has been reporting the highest number of cases across India. The state is contributing to more than 50% of the country's daily caseload. In the last 24 hours, Maharashtra reported 57,074 cases of COVID-19.
Without officially calling it a lockdown, beginning 8 pm on April 5 to April 30, the State government has imposed a fresh set of guidelines. The steps taken by the government that was earlier called Mission Begin Again has been rechristened to Mission Break The Chain. If more than five cases are reported from a residential society, each society will be considered as a micro-containment zone.
Even though section 144 has been imposed, weddings and funerals will be allowed with 50 and 20 people, respectively. Staff at the halls will need tk have RT-PCR negative reports.
1. Curfews and Lockdowns
Section 144 will be imposed between 7am to 8pm, more than five people cannot gather at a location. Strict night curfew will be implemented between 8pm to 7am while the state will see a strict lockdown beginning at 8pm on Friday nights and ending at 7am on Mondays. Only essential services such as stores selling groceries, medicines, vegetables, etc., will remain open. Shopkeepers and staff in the shop of essential goods and services are expected to receive vaccination as soon as possible.
Apart from students giving their class 10 and 12 exams, schools and colleges will remain shut for in-person classes.
Agricultural activities as well as industrial and manufacturing units will be allowed to function but with appropriate COVID-19 precautions in place.
2. Mandatory Work From Home
Apart from banks, stock markets, insurance offices, pharmaceuticals, mediclaim services, telecommunications, as well as local disaster management, electricity and water supply offices, all the other private offices have been asked to bring out a mandatory work from home policy. Government offices not affiliated with COVID-19 services will work at 50% capacity.
3. Public Transport
All types of public and private transport will continue on a regular basis. Rickshaws with only two passengers and taxis with 50 per cent of the scheduled passengers can travel. Therefore, in a cab with a capacity to carry four passengers, it should only be the driver and two other passengers.
Only seated passengers wearing masks will be allowed in public and private buses. Bus drivers, carriers and other staff must complete their vaccinations or carry a Corona Negative Certificate.
4. Restaurants and Bars
Restaurants and bars will only be allowed to function for delivery purposes between 7am- 8pm. None of the restaurants or bars will entertain customers. Food vendors on the streets will also only be permitted to give out food parcels between the same time period.
E-commerce services will be permitted to function between 7am-8pm wherein the delivery staff is expected to have received their COVID-19 vaccine or have a corona negative report.
6. Recreation and grooming
Malls, cinemas, multiplexes, theatres, video parlours, clubs, swimming pools, sports complexes, auditoriums, water park will be closed. Filming can be continued but with mandatory RT-PCR test certificates for all staff and people at the shooting site. This rule will be implemented from April 10.
All salons, beauty parlours, spas will also not be allowed to function till their staff members are vaccinated.
7. Sick Leave
To avoid further job loss, the government has mandated that employees or labourers cannot be removed from their positions if they are infected by COVID-19. The contractors as well as employers are expected to give the infected persons sick leave in the interim.
8. Public Spaces
Public places like gardens, beaches etc. will be open between 7am to 8pm. If it is noticed that people are crowding in these public places day after day without following the health rules, the local administration can close the place completely. These spaces will also be inaccessible during the weekend lockdowns.
9. Places of Worship
Places of worship of all religions will be closed for devotees and visitors coming from outside but daily worship can be offered by the staff, priests etc. Vaccination of these employees should also be completed as soon as possible.
10. Distribution of Newspapers
Newspaper printing and distribution will continue as usual but vendors should be vaccinated
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