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Union govt allows all shops outside municipal limits and standalone shops within municipal limits to open, malls to remain closed

The MHA statement has permitted shops in market complexes outside municipality areas to resume work with a maximum of 50 per cent staff during the ongoing lockdown.

In a major relief to the public amid the ongoing Coronavirus Lockdown, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued an order on Friday night, permitting the shops providing non-essential goods and services to open from Saturday onwards. 

The latest order from the government allows the registered neighbourhood and stand-alone shops to open amid the coronavirus lockdown.

The shops that are allowed to open during the coronavirus lockdown from Saturday include those located in residential complexes within and outside the limits of municipalities and municipal areas. However, market complexes within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities will not open from Saturday, while shops in market complexes outside municipal limits can open. Shops in single and multi-brand malls will remain closed in all areas.

Shops to be open with 50 percent staff, mandatory social distancing norms

The MHA statement has permitted shops in market complexes outside municipality areas to resume work with a maximum of 50 per cent staff during the ongoing lockdown. The order also added that the mandatory precautions such as social distancing norms and wearing masks should be followed strictly.

The MHA statement also states that the order applies only to the local shops registered with the municipal corporation. However, shops in multi-brand and single-brand malls are not exempted and will remain shut till May 3.

The shops that have been exempted from the current lockdown include neighbourhood shops and stand-alone shops, the shops in residential complexes, those under municipal corporation and municipalities and registered under the Shops and Establishment Act of the respective State/UTs.

However, the restrictions will continue in hotspots and containment areas, said Ministry of Home Affairs in its new order.

Traders’ Federation thanks PM Modi, asks shop vendors to wait for state govt order

Following the order issued the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to exempt certain shops, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) thanked Prime Minister Modi for allowing to open shop across the country.

However, Praveen Khandelwal, the National General Secretary of Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Saturday said that people should wait for the state governments to take a decision in this regard.

“I want to thank PM Modi for allowing to open shops across the country. The Home Ministry has given the responsibility to state governments. We have to wait for the state government to take a decision on this. But I think state governments will take a decision,” Khandelwal said.

He added that whenever the shops will be opened, people should sanitise their shops and markets first. Masks, gloves and sanitisers should be used. Shopkeepers should also ensure social distancing, he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of Chinese pandemic coronavirus. Later, the lockdown was later extended till May 3.

Meanwhile, a total of 24,505 confirmed cases have been reported in India till Friday. There are 18,668 active cases of coronavirus cases in the country, while 5,062 positive cases have recovered. 775 people have lost their lives due to coronavirus in the country.

Clarification on the MHA order

As the legal jargon issued in the order had created some confusion on what is allowed and what is not, the ministry later issued a clarification.

The clarification says that all shops in rural areas will be open, except shopping malls. But in urban areas, both shopping malls and shops in market complexes are not allowed to open, and only standalone shops, neighborhood shops and shops in residential complexes can open.

The clarification further adds that ban on sale of non-essential items by e-commerce companies continues, they can sale only essential goods only like groceries. The ministry also says that sale of liquor sale continues to be prohibited.

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