Covid-19: Maharashtra begins five-level unlock from today
Maharashtra has begun unlocking in a graded manner from today as the state’s five-level plan to ease curbs comes into effect. The lockdown was imposed in April following the devastating second Covid-19 wave.
Mumbai falls in level-3 where all shops can open, restaurants can serve customers till 4pm on weekdays, private offices can be reopened with 50% staff, also till 4pm, and people can go for jogging and to gymnasiums, with certain conditions.
Although a state government notification allowed all women commuters to use local trains, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Saturday restricted the services to medical staff and a few essential sectors. However, commuters can travel by BEST buses provided there are no standing passengers. With offices opening up and trains not accessible for general public, the city could see jams and crowded buses during peak hours in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai.
As many as 15 districts, and three municipal corporation areas of Mumbai, Thane, and Vasai-VIrar, which fall in level-3 will continue to have a daily curfew from 5pm. Social, cultural, entertainment events and political/election meetings have been allowed with 50% capacity of the venue in level-three areas. The number of attendees has been increased to 50 for wedding events but religious places will remain shut.
On day one of the unlock, many arterial roads in Mumbai saw jams in the morning as private vehicles, rickshaw, taxis and cabs hit the streets. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has directed district and municipal authorities to not allow crowding during the unlocking. He also reiterated that the state has not fully lifted the curbs.
Ten districts, Ahmednagar, Chandrapur, Dhule, Gondia, Jalgaon, Jalna, Latur, Nagpur, Nanded and Yavatmal, have positivity under 5% and under 25% oxygen-bed occupancy and therefore, fall in level-1. These districts have no restrictions, barring inter-district travel from areas under level 5.
Hingoli and Nandurbar districts and civic bodies of Navi Mumbai and Kalyan-Dombivli fall in level 2 with positivity rate under 5% but oxygen bed occupancy between 25% to 30%. There, theatres, multiplexes, malls and restaurants can operate with 50% occupancy. Social and cultural gatherings will be at half the capacity of the venue.
Buldhana, Kolhapur, Pune, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sangli, Satara, Sindhudurg districts fall in level 4 along with municipal corporation area of Panvel, where only essential shops will remain open till 4pm on all days. Restaurants can operate but only for takeaway services. Government and private offices will operate at 25% capacity.
Meanwhile, there are no districts or municipal corporation areas in level 5 as of now, with positivity rate of over 20% and 75% oxygen bed occupancy. These areas will have no change in the lockdown restrictions.