From today, neighbourhood shops can reopen for business after the government announced new relaxations during the coronavirus lockdown in a late-night order. The new order comes as big relief for traders as well as residents after a month of the nationwide lockdown to check the spread of COVID-19, which is due to end on May 3. The relaxations will not apply to areas that are COVID-19 hotspots or containment areas, with a large number of infections. For the first time in a month, local shops selling both essential and non-essential goods can open. Malls, cinemas and market complexes will stay closed, the government says. However, with public transport still closed, employees of shops that can re-open could still find it tough to get to work.
The government, in the morning, clarified that e-commerce companies can only sell essential items.
The Home Ministry also says masks, gloves and social distancing norms will be a must for workers in establishments that open. States can decide whether they want to continue with the restrictions, the government said. Delhi, for example, has said it will decide in two days whether to reopen shops as allowed by the latest order.
Here is a look at what reopens from today:
- 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
- All shops in residential areas and neighbourhood markets will be open
- In rural and semi-rural areas, all shops and markets that are registered can open. In cities, only standalone shops and residential shops can open
- Shops in registered markets outside municipal corporations and municipalities can open only with 50 per cent staff
- In urban areas, non-essential goods and services will be allowed to operate provided they are in residential areas or is a standalone shop
- Market complexes, except those within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, are allowed to open
What will remain shut
- Malls and cinemas
- Salons, barber shops, restaurants
- Complexes with clusters of shops like Mumbai's BKC or Delhi's Khan Market and Nehru Place
- Shops in multi-brand and single-brand malls outside the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities
- Shopping complexes, shops in market complexes, multi-brand and single-brand malls
- Gymnasiums, sports complexes, swimming pools, theatres, bars and auditoriums
- Liquor shops
- Boutiques in malls cannot open