Malls & theatres will unlock in Mumbai and longer operating hours will be permitted for shops.
Amid the dipping average of the COVID threat in Maharashtra, the state government on Thursday decided to move about 25 out of 36 districts, including Mumbai and Thane into a level-2 relaxation zone. The new permits include the reopening of malls and multiplexes, extended operating hours for shops and restaurants and permission to dine out during weekends. Guest capping at social events will also be relaxed, however, the decision to allow the general public in Mumbai locals is still pending and will be finalised after a discussion with the railway officials.
Relaxations granted under level-2 unlock
25 Maharashtra districts that have been reportedly logging a lower weekly positivity rate than the state's average, can now enjoy some new relaxations. The state govt has decided to relax shop timings from 8 AM to 4 PM and allow longer dine-in hours at restaurants - at 50% capacity, from Monday to Friday. Further, the Maharashtra administration has also decided to relax the Saturday curbs till 4 PM. All non-essential shops and dine-ins may be permitted until this deadline. However, the norms will stay unhindered on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the guest caps at social events will also be relaxed. The state, however, will limit the use of AC (Air Conditioning) when large people are gathered at closed venues to prevent stagnant air circulation. As per reports, malls, theatres will also reopen at 50% capacity with the imperative that only vaccinated staffers are deployed at the shops here.
No decision regarding reopening locals
While the state was actively exploring the opportunity of reopening the local trains for fully vaccinated individuals, the idea could not pass at the review meeting of the State Covid Task Force with the Chief MInister on Thursday. It was concluded that checking the vaccination of each passenger will require a lot of human resources and therefore the decision has been taken to push train travel back for some more weeks. Concerns regarding high case rise in Kerala also discouraged the state from restarting travel, added the Health Minister.
He also added that several rounds of discussions and deliberations were regarded before finalising the level-2 relaxations and restrictions. The ease has been granted as an economic relief to the business community. The Chief Minister has also directed officials to ensure proper implementations of strict guidelines to ensure that relaxations do not yield a spiraling surge, again.
The state machinery is closely monitoring the on-ground status, in wake of fears of the expectant rise of the 'third wave'. Consequently, prevention and preparations are in order for the same. As such, the government is pushing to increase the pace of the vaccination drive to avert a scenario of heightened infection spread during the expected third wave.