After nearly 80 days of lockdown, the country’s commercial capital Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra revved back to life, setting in motion the crucial economic activities that were virtually paralysed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, here on Friday.
Most markets, market areas, commercial and trading areas – barring malls or market complexes – in the city and rest of the state reopened for business even as Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray reiterated that “people should tread cautiously while beginning a ‘new life’ from today”.
As announced earlier, the shops are remaining open on one side of the road on odd-even dates basis, between 9 am-5 pm, with several other conditions, said Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA) President Viren Shah.
Use of trial rooms in garment outlets is banned, return/exchange is prohibited, strict physical distancing norms must be followed, arrangements for sanitisers and possibly even a thermometer gun at the entrance is must for the staffer, in case of overcrowding, sales must stop, he said.
Vehicles returned to the roads and highways in large numbers since suburban trains were still not permitted as people trooped to their respective places of businesses.
However, private offices shall open from June 8 with 10 per cent staff strength, while government offices will work with 15 per cent strength though all other emergencies, health care services, treasuries, police, disaster management, essential supplies, civic services, etc are exempt from this.
While the government has advised people to avoid stepping outdoors, cab aggregators, autorickshaws and taxis can ply with two passengers plus the driver and pillion riding is not permitted on two-wheelers.
Till June 30, schools, colleges, all educational institutions, religious places of worship, salons and parlours, shopping malls, hotels, restaurants and hospitality services, theatres, cinemas and multiplexes, swimming pools and gyms, social gathering or large congregations, continue to be prohibited.
Shah said that from today the phased reopening of businesses started in all the municipal corporations like Mumbai, and districts like Thane, Pune, Solapur, Aurangabad, Nashik, Dhule, Jalgaon, Akola, Amravati and Nagpur.
Any staffers in any business outlet displaying Corona-type symptoms must be self-quarantined at home for 7-10 days, senior citizens or children below 10 years and people with comorbidities are still not allowed to step out of homes, etc.
It may be recalled that Maharashtra had gone into partial lockdown from March 15, then a full lockdown from March 24, followed by the national lockdown since March 25, which is now in its fifth phase, though with some relaxations.