Maharashtra to relax curbs in 25 districts
Maharashtra is likely to provide relaxations in 25 districts, including Mumbai, with low positivity and growth rate than the state average. The state is also considering the proposal to open suburban train travel in city for those who have taken both the shots of the Covid-19 vaccine.
The state may allow shops to open for the entire day, except Sundays. The decision on relaxations is likely to be taken by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray in the state task force meeting to be held on Thursday afternoon.
It may also allow opening of hotels and cinema halls for those who are fully vaccinated. No relaxations will be given to 11 districts that have more than average positivity and growth rate. “The positivity rate and growth rate of 11 districts are still more than the state average, where the state government will not be able to give any relaxations. There is a need to provide relaxations in the rest of the 25 districts, having minimal positivity rate and growth rate. A joint proposal from the state health and relief and rehabilitation departments has been submitted to the chief minister, who is likely to take a final decision on Thursday,” said state health minister Rajesh Tope.
Restaurants and gyms may also be allowed with stricter norms. “We have also proposed to allow people to travel in local trains if they have taken both the vaccines,” Tope said.
Districts having growth rate more than the state average are — Sangli, Kolhapur, Satara, Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Ahmednagar, Solapur, Beed, Raigad Pune and Osmanabad. Currently, the state’s average weekly growth rate is 0.11%.
The state imposed stricter norms by reducing the five-level relaxation plan to three after cases of Delta-plus variants were found last month. The first two levels having maximum relaxations were removed till further order. As of now, malls and theatres have been completely shut across the state. Section 144 is applicable and not more than five people can gather at a public place while movements should be minimal post 5pm. Shops selling essentials are allowed to stay open till 4pm on a daily basis and those related to non-essentials are allowed to operate only on weekdays. Gyms and saloons are operational only till 4pm, with appointments and without air-conditioners. Restaurants can open till 4 pm only on weekdays, after which, only takeaways will be allowed.
Food and civil supplies minister Chhagan Bhujbal raised the issue in the state cabinet meeting held on Wednesday and said people want relaxations from Covid restrictions. “We have to seriously come up with a way out of the situation as people are very upset with the restrictions,” Bhujbal is said to have told the cabinet.