August 12, 2021 3:26:56 am
Following demands from hotel and restaurant associations, retailers and other sections of society, the Maharashtra government on Wednesday eased lockdown restrictions further by extending trade timings across the state from August 15.
Restaurants, bars, shops, shopping malls, gymnasiums, yoga centres, salons and spas are now allowed to remain open until 10 pm on all days. However, movie and drama theatres, multiplexes (independent or part of shopping malls) and all places of worship will remain closed.
Earlier, while restaurants had to shut down at 4 pm, other establishments were permitted to remain open until 8 pm. On Saturdays, all establishments had to shut down at 3 pm, and everything was closed on Sundays.
While the government has relaxed these restriction, a lockdown will be imposed across the state if the demand for medical oxygen for Covid-19 patients rises to 700 MT per day, which translates into 30,000 patients requiring oxygen.
According to the order issued on Wednesday, the government has allowed restaurants and bars to remain open until 10 pm with 50 per cent capacity on all days. Last orders can be taken until 9 pm but takeaway or home delivery service can be provided 24 hours.
Shops and shopping malls can remain open till 10 pm on all days. However, only customers who have taken both doses of vaccine and completed 14 days after the second jab are allowed entry.
The order further said that fully vaccinated people are allowed to travel by suburban local trains from August 15, provided 14 days have passed since they were administered the second dose.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said in a statement: “I reiterate that we don’t feel happy imposing restrictions. The Delta plus variant is spreading widely in countries such as the United States and Britain. In such a situation, we have to open up activities very carefully.”
While air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned gymnasiums, yoga centres, salons and spas can remain open till 10 pm, air-conditioned establishments need to ensure proper ventilation in the premises. Indoor sports such as badminton, table tennis and squash are allowed but with only two players.
Private and industrial establishments, which have vaccinated their employees, can operate at full capacity. However, private establishments can remain open 24 hours with 25 per cent attendance per shift.
Thackeray said the government would impose a lockdown if the requirement of oxygen increases.
“If the state requires 700 metric tonne of oxygen daily for Covid-19 patients, then a lockdown will be imposed immediately,” he added.
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