On May 31, the Maharashtra government announced an extension of the ongoing lockdown until June 30, while laying out a set of guidelines on easing restrictions of movement in three phases.
This set of guidelines, termed as Mission Begin Again, is aimed at restarting the economy and putting an end to the lockdown which was imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The following easing of restrictions however apply to areas outside containment zones.
1. Phase 1: Opening Public Spaces
With effect from June 3, Phase 1 of Mission Begin Again will see opening up of public spaces for individual outdoor physical activities between 5 am and 7 pm. According to the guidelines, group activities will not be permitted, although children should be accompanied by an adult.
Activities related to self-employed professionals such as plumbers, electricians, pest-control and technicians shall be allowed with social distancing norms and usage of masks and sanitisation. Garages shall be allowed to run workshops with prior appointments.
All government offices, except for essential services, will be allowed to function at 15 per cent strength or 15 employees, whichever is more.
2. Phase 2: Opening Markets and Shops
With the exception of shopping malls and marketing complexes, all shops, markets and market areas shall be allowed to function on a P1-P2 basis* from 9 am to 5 pm, with effect from June 5. According to the P1-P2 basis, shops on one side of the road/street/lane will be open on odd days, and shops on the other side will be open on even days.
The guidelines prevent people from using trial rooms, in order to avoid the spread of infection, and also prevent return or exchange of goods. Shopkeepers are made responsible for observing social distancing norms in their respective shops. Failure to observe social distancing norms will result in closing down of shops.
People are also advised to walk or use a cycle for shopping purposes, while going to shops in close proximity.
Movement in vehicles will be allowed in the following manner:
3. Phase 3: Opening Private Offices
With effect from June 8, private offices will be allowed to function with up to 10% of the employees, with the rest working from home. Employers will be required to hold sanitisation programmes, to sensitise the employees on taking adequate precautions while commuting home, in order to protect vulnerable groups from infection.
4. Prohibited Activities
According to the guidelines, the following activities shall remain prohibited throughout the month of June:
- Schools, colleges, educational, training, coaching institutions etc
- International air travel of passengers, except as permitted by MHA.
- Metro Rail.
- Passenger movement by trains and domestic air travel unless specifically allowed through separate orders and standard operating procedures.
- Cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places.
- Social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions and large congregations.
- Religious places/ places of worship for public.
- Barber shops, spas, saloons, beauty parlours.
- Shopping malls, hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services.
5. Containment zones
The respective Municipal/ District Authorities shall demarcate the containment zones as per the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). Municipal commissioners and district collectors shall be empowered to decide the containment zones.
The guideline reads, "The containment zone will be residential colony, mohalla, slum, building, group of buildings, lane, ward, police station area, small cluster of villages etc. Anything larger than this (eg. Whole taluka/ municipal corporation etc.) can be declared as containment zone only after consultation with Chief Secretary."