In Midnight Order, Centre Allows Neighbourhood Shops to Reopen But Malls to Stay Closed

Ghughuti Bulletin

New Delhi: A month after the all-India lockdown was implemented, the central government has allowed opening of neighbourhood and standalone shops, including those located in residential complexes within municipal areas.

The late night order, issued by the home ministrty, ended the essential-non essential categorisation and allowed shops selling all kinds of goods to open, giving reprieve to public at large.

However, the order signed by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, made it clear that shops in market places, multi-brand and single brand malls located in municipality areas shall continue to remain closed till May 3.

The shops will be allowed to open, but at a 50 per cent strength and after taking necessary precautions.

Amending its April 15 order, the Union Home Ministry said “all shops, including neighbourhood shops and standalone shops, shops in residential complexes, within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, registered under the the Shops and Establishment Act of the respective State and UT” will be allowed to open during the lockdown.

However, the exemptions will not be given in hotspots and containment areas. The fresh round of easing of lockdown restrictions comes even as India registered the biggest single-day spike in cases, with 1,752 infections taking the tally to 23,452. The death toll stands at 723, according to home ministry data.

Opening of neighbourhood shops is being seen as a relief to people who have been under lockdown since March 24 to contain the spread of novel coronavirus. The shops will mandatorily have 50 per cent strength of workers wearing of masks and following social distancing.

The Home Ministry order comes on the eve of Muslim holy month Ramzan. The ministry also said shops located in registered markets located outside the municipal corporations and municipalities can open after following the drill of social distancing and wearing of masks but with 50 per cent of strength.

However, single and muti-brands shall continue to remain closed in these areas also.

“All shops registered under the the Shops and Establishment Act of the respective State/UT, including shops in residential complexes and market complexes, except shops in multi-brand and single brand malls, outside the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, with 50 per cent strength of workers with wearing of masks and social distancing being mandatory” will be allowed to function.

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