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Maharashtra govt considers allowing shops to stay open post 4 pm, fully vaccinated to take local trains

The government is now contemplating allowing shops to remain open beyond 4 pm and also allow people who have taken two doses of the vaccine to travel in local trains, said sources.

Written by Vishwas Waghmode , Anuradha Mascarenhas | Mumbai, Pune |
Updated: July 29, 2021 9:12:13 am
At a vaccination centre in Mumbai on Wednesday. (Express Photo: Amit Chakravarty)

Amid increasing demands for relaxations in lockdown norms, the state government on Wednesday indicated that some restrictions may be eased with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray set to hold a meeting with the state Covid-19 task force on Thursday.

The government is now contemplating allowing shops to remain open beyond 4 pm and also allow people who have taken two doses of the vaccine to travel in local trains, said sources.

Sources added that at the Cabinet meeting, ministers raised the issue of granting relaxations citing the growing demands from the trader community and others. A minister said that there is a view in the Cabinet that shops should be allowed to remain open till 7 or 8 pm.

“Also, those people who have taken two doses of the vaccine should be allowed to travel in local trains or conduct their business and other activities,” the minister added. Reducing weekend lockdown to a one day was also discussed at the meeting, said sources.

Health Minister Rajesh Tope told mediapersons that the government could consider allowing some relaxations in 25 districts whose weekly Covid-19 positivity rate is less than the state average.

However, districts such as Satara, Pune and Kolhapur are unlikely to be considered for exemption for now as they top the list of the 10 districts in Maharashtra with a weekly positivity rate much higher than the state average.

A final decision in this regard will be taken by Thackeray. “We are actively considering allowing certain relaxation in the rules so that restaurants and gyms where the staff is fully vaccinated can be opened up in these 25 districts. However, such a move will not be immediately considered in the remaining districts,” Tope said.

Sources said that CM assured the ministers that relaxations would be granted judiciously while considering the Covid-19 situation in the districts.

“The CM said that the districts which have the highest weekly positivity rates have been affected by flood and many people from outside are coming to these districts for relief work,” said a source.

Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg districts in Konkan and Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur districts in western Maharashtra region have been badly affected by flood.

According to a presentation made before the Cabinet, the state’s weekly positivity rate now stands at 3.8 per cent.

Ten districts in the state have very high weekly positivity rate, including Satara (8.03 per cent), Kolhapur (7.18 per cent), Sangli (6.91 per cent), Sindhudurg (6.49 per cent), Raigad (4.7 per cent) and Ratnagiri 3.83 (per cent) among others.

Sources said that Thackeray assured the Cabinet that he would hold a meeting with the Covid-19 task force on Thursday and take a call on the relaxations.

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