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Pune weekend lockdown lifted, PMC relaxes strict Covid curbs

Pune weekend lockdown: The Covid-19 surge had led the administration to impose complete weekend lockdown in the second week of April despite opposition from traders as well as the ruling BJP in the civic body..

Written by Ajay Jadhav | Pune |
Updated: May 29, 2021 11:04:50 am
Pune covid lockdownThe Covid surge had led the administration to impose complete weekend lockdown in the second week of April despite opposition from traders as well as the ruling BJP in the civic body. (Express Photo by Ashish Kale)

WITH A sharp decline in daily Covid-19 positivity rate, which is below 10 per cent at present, and decrease in number of active cases, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has decided to relax its stringent restrictions in the city while withdrawing weekend lockdown.

It has allowed all essential category shops to remain open on all weekdays from 7 am to 11 am.

The Covid surge had led the administration to impose complete weekend lockdown in the second week of April despite opposition from traders as well as the ruling BJP in the civic body.

The state government further imposed restrictions across Maharashtra, but did not impose weekend lockdown. But the administration in Pune continued with it, citing high positivity rate and increased number of active cases.

On Friday, the PMC decided to relax the complete weekend lockdown. “The essential-category shops in the city will be allowed to remain open throughout the week from 7 am to 11 am,” said Municipal Commissioner Vikram Kumar.

The essential-category shops include grocery stores, vegetable and fruit shops, dairies, bakeries, sweet shops and all other shops selling food items like meat, chicken, egg and seafood.

The PMC has also included optical shops and shops selling material related to monsoon in the essential category. The category also includes shops that sell agriculture items, including seeds, fertilisers and equipment and pet shops.

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Earlier in the day, after taking review of the Covid situation in the district, State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said legislators, MPs and the PMC mayor were of the opinion that weekend lockdown should be removed and essential category stores should be allowed to open on all weekdays from 7 am to 11 am.

“The state government imposed the restrictions across the state and only allowed essential-category shops to run on all days from 7 am to 11 am. But the Pune administration imposed a weekend lockdown to check the spread of Covid infection. It will now be removed as per the demand,” he said, adding that any decision on allowing non-essential category shops would be taken as per the strategy to be declared by the state.

“The state government has decided to extend the lockdown in Maharashtra for 15 more days as the situation in 18 districts is worrisome. There will be some relaxations in the rules in the districts, where the situation has improved, but it will be declared by the chief minister,” Tope added.

Mayor Murlidhar Mohol, citing improved situation in the city, had requested Tope to relax the weekend lockdown and allow opening of essential-category shops from 7 am to 11 am on weekends.

“The unlocking process should be initiated in the city in phases to ensure that there is no resurgence in infection. Vaccination of those above 18 years should be started in government-run centres,” he said.

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