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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Pune night curfew: After hours of confusion, orders for public places to shut at 8 pm

As per the 'Mission Begin Again' directives issued on Saturday, the Maharashtra government had ordered that "all public places to remain closed from 8 pm to 7 am effective from March 27."

Written by Atikh Rashid | Pune |
Updated: March 29, 2021 2:52:13 pm
Pune hospitals, Pune city news, Pune news, Pune covid cases, Pune hospital oxygens, Indian expressPolice enforcing the mask rule near Pune railway station (Express photograph by Arul Horizon)

After hours of confusion, the Pune Municipal Corporation and the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation have finally issued prohibitory orders mandating that all public places be shut at 8 pm.

As per the ‘Mission Begin Again’ directives issued on Saturday, the Maharashtra government had ordered that “all public places to remain closed from 8 pm to 7 am effective from March 27 and those who would violate the orders will be imposed with a penalty of Rs 1000′.

However, until Sunday afternoon, the district collector or the municipal commissioner of Pune had not brought out any order amending the existing timings, which stated that restaurants and bars were to close for dine-in service at 10 pm.

Pune night curfew imposed on Sunday after 8 pm. (Express Photo by Pavan Khengre)

This had led to confusion among the public as well as among the owners of restaurants and bars. As per the established procedure, after receiving guidelines from the government, the district collector issues prohibitory orders using the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and Epidemic Diseases Prevention Act, 1897. Following this, the PMC and PCMC issue guidelines for the urban parts of the district and, finally, the police commissioners of respective areas bring out executive orders using Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

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Restaurant owners are extremely unhappy about the state government’s decision to impose the restrictions on the operation timings. As per them, closing a restaurant at 8 pm is, in effect, keeping it shut for business because most of the business happens only after 7 pm. During the day, for most restaurants the business is minimal.

“It’s a very bad situation for us. We have suffered greatly throughout the last year and hence we had requested the government not to impose any time restrictions on us. We had promised to comply with all the instructions about maintaining social distancing and hygiene in the dine-in area,” said Shetty.

Shetty said that the latest decision will throw business out of gear completely, creating trouble for owners as well as staffers who depend on the enterprise for livelihood.

“The owners were already worried about paying the annual excise fee, taxes and other expenses as the year ends. There has been a great loss of revenue since March 31. With this move, the trouble has been worsened,” said Shetty.

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