Starting Friday, when the state starts implementing new guidelines for designated red zones and non-red zones, Mumbai does not get any relaxations, barring the opening of non-essential shops from 9 am to 5 pm for non-commercial purpose of upkeep or maintenance of material, plant and machinery.
Also, pre-monsoon works at both public and private properties will be allowed to begin, but only with permission from the local ward office.
The Maharashtra government had on Tuesday issued revised guidelines for lockdown 4.0, keeping in place most of the curbs for red zones.
Unlike earlier phases of the lockdown, when BMC brought out its own rules, Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal has not come out with a separate circular this time.
Civic officials pointed out that the guidelines are clear in the notification issued by the state and there is no need for a separate circular for the city.
In previous phases, the government and the BMC had faced coordination issues. Ambiguously worded orders, different lockdown rules for Mumbai — reopening and subsequent shutting of liquor shops, permitting five non-essential shops in a lane followed by an abrupt retraction in 24 hours — had created chaos and confusion on the ground.
Following this, Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta had directed district collectors and civic chiefs not to make changes to the guidelines.
As per the guidelines to be in effect from Friday, while shops, malls and private offices will remain shut in Mumbai, the state has permitted these establishments to open shutters from 9 am to 5 pm for the “purpose of upkeep or maintenance of material, plant and machinery, furniture protection and other pre-monsoon activities”. Even housing societies are permitted to undertake pre-monsoon works.
Officials said that arbitrary opening will not be allowed, a permission slip from the civic body will be mandatory. “Shops and private properties will have to submit applications to their respective ward offices. Our ground-level staff will check the applications and permit pre-monsoon works. Otherwise, non-essential shops will open under the pretext of undertaking pre-monsoon works and sell their products,” said a ward officer.
Retailers and shopkeepers said that better coordination at the ground level is required. “There needs to be clear guidelines. Also, with non-availability of workers and raw materials, starting maintenance work of the properties won’t be an easy task,” said Viren Shah, president of Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association.
The earlier lockdown curbs will continue in Mumbai, with no standalone non-essential shops permitted, except electronic and hardware stores (not more than in each lane). Restaurants will not be allowed to open, but they can offer home delivery. Liquor stores will continue to be shut in the city. Taxi and rickshaws continue to remain prohibited in red zones, while private cars can ferry only two persons besides the driver for essential activities.
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