MHA Guidelines for shops: What is open, what is closed in lockdown due to Coronavirus

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Updated: Apr 25, 2020 3:20 PM

The strict lockdown imposed by government across the country in order to curb the spread of deadly COVID-19 infection is now going to see some relaxations.

The online marketplace has moved in to the home necessities segment due to the ongoing corona crisis in the countryAll standalone shops/neighbourhood shops and shops in residential complexes are now allowed to open.

Coronavirus Lockdown: The strict lockdown imposed by government across the country in order to curb the spread of deadly COVID-19 infection is now going to see some relaxations. On Saturday, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued a fresh clarification on its previous order that allowed some shops to open their shutters. The revised guidelines state wtat shops can resume the functions in rural as well as urban areas. For rural areas, the government has allowed all shops to start its operations unless they are in a shopping mall. According to the revised guidelines, the shops in urban areas can open only if they are standalone or present in residential complexes. Thus all standalone shops/neighbourhood shops and shops in residential complexes are now allowed to open. In rural areas, all shops, except those in shopping malls can open.

It has been clarified by the MHA that shops in markets/market complexes and shopping mall are not allowed to open. Shops will only be allowed to function in rural or urban areas if they do not fall under a containment zone. If they do, resuming operations is strictly prohibited during the lockdown. Apart from this, spokesperson of the MHA has revealed that these relaxations are not for salons, barbers or restaurants. Therefore, they shall too remain closed.

The ministry further said that those e-commerce companies like Amazon, Flipkart are only permitted to continue the supply of essential goods. In fact, the MHA has also clarified that sale of liquor or any other item that is mentioned in the National Directive for COVID-19 management shall remain prohibited.

According to a report by The Indian Express, the amended guidelines are likely to give an impetus in opening up the small economy in the entire rural sector. The report also mentioned that not more than 50 per cent workforce can work at a given time within these shops. Maintaining hand hygiene and social distancing as much as possible are compulsory for all workers operating these shops.

Since operations are not allowed in the COVID-19 hotspots/ containment zones, it is to note that four districts under three states (Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Gujarat) have been placed under the government’s scanner after collectively reporting more than 5,000 positive Coronavirus cases. The MHA has said that the new Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCTs) deployed by the government will be closely monitoring all the areas that are of concern and help to contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus.

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