Cyclone Nisarga may have forced BMC from implementing Phase 1 of the lockdown exit strategy on June 3, but on Thursday evening, as the rain stopped and the skies cleared, Mumbaikars could not be held back any more.
Although prohibitory orders were to be lifted only at midnight, many regular walkers and runners returned to Marine Drive and other promenades and parks across the city, as permitted under Phase 1 of the government’s ‘Begin Again Mission’.
As for Phase 2, which kicks off on Friday, the BMC has started issuing lockdown relaxation circulars at ward level. On Thursday, assistant municipal commissioners of R North (Dahisar) and D (Malabar Hill, Grant Road) wards issued circulars, allowing shops and markets to keep open between 9 am to 5 pm on alternate days. Orders will exclude containment zones.
However, many wards are yet to issue circulars, and confusion still prevails as to how the rules will be implemented.
Shops and markets can function from Monday to Saturday, but shops on either side of the road will be open only on alternate days of the week. All shops will be shut on Sunday. Officials said that a team of licence department and the local police will do random checks on see whether social distancing and other guidelines were being followed. “If found in violation, shopowners will face action,” said a civic official.
However, retailers are also not sure how they can ensure their workers reach the shops with mass transporters like BEST and the local trains still shut.
Viren Shah, president of Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association, said, “In the absence of public transport, commute of staffers is still a big challenge. Also, there is no clarity on timings. The government says that shops can be open till working hours. But it is not clear what is these working hours.”
“By not allowing trials and exchanges at clothes shops, authorities are discriminating against us as this is allowed in e-commerce… We have written to the municipal commissioner on these issues,” he added.
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