Maharashtra relaxes Covid curbs; shops to remain open till 10pm from Aug 15

Employees in shops, establishments and offices, however, will have to be fully vaccinated. Restaurants, gymnasiums and spas are allowed to operate at 50% of their capacity
Shops have been allowed to remain open till 10pm from August 15. (HT file)
Shops have been allowed to remain open till 10pm from August 15. (HT file)
Published on Aug 12, 2021 08:44 AM IST
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After announcing that it will allow fully vaccinated people to travel in local trains in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) from Independence Day, the Maharashtra government on Wednesday rolled out a few more relaxations from Covid-19 lockdown.

From August 15, shops, malls, and restaurants will be allowed to operate till 10pm, while private offices can operate 24*7 with staggered shift hours. Employees in shops, establishments and offices, however, will have to be fully vaccinated.

Restaurants, gymnasiums and spas are allowed to operate at 50% of their capacity. The number of people allowed to attend wedding ceremonies has been increased to 200 if the venue is an open place like lawns, while the number of attendees is restricted to 100 or 50% of the sitting capacity if the venue is enclosed one. Indoor games have been allowed till 10pm provided everyone is fully vaccinated.

Also Read | Maharashtra: 20 more cases of Covid Delta plus variant; total cases reaches 65

With the likelihood of a third wave hitting the state, the government also made it clear that the entire state will be put under immediate lockdown if the demand for oxygen reaches 700 metric tonnes (MT) daily.

Religious places and theatres, multiplexes and auditoriums will remain shut till further orders, the state government said.

Public health minister Rajesh Tope announced more relaxations after the state Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

The new set of relaxations will be applicable even to the 11 districts that have comparatively more daily Covid-19 cases and a higher test positivity rate. Test positivity rate is the number of test returning positive out of the total tests conducted for an infection.

These districts were exempted from the relaxations announced earlier this month. The positivity and growth rate in these districts have now come down, as per the presentation made to the state Cabinet on Wednesday.

The health minister said that the relaxations come with a rider in the wake of the potential third wave of the virus. The state Cabinet has put the threshold of requirement of the oxygen to treat Covid-19 patients. “If the daily requirement of the Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) reaches 700 MT, strict lockdown will be imposed immediately. Maharashtra’s LMO generation per day is 1,300MT, which is expected to go up to 2,000 MT in next few days because of the augmentation measures taken by us. As per the Centre’s direction, the state government should augment the oxygen capacity to 1.5 times the requirement at the peak of the second wave. As per that parameter, the requirement would be 3,800MT, against our generation of 2,000MT. Since the possibility of supply of the LMO from other states is less if the third wave strikes, we have decided to strictly impose the lockdown again if the requirement goes up,” Tope said.

Maharashtra reported 5,560 new Covid-19 cases and 163 fresh deaths on Wednesday, taking the tally to 6,369,002 cases and toll to 13,464. Mumbai logged 285 new cases and reported nine deaths, while Pune district logged 1,146 new cases.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Surendra P Gangan is Senior Assistant Editor with political bureau of Hindustan Times’ Mumbai Edition. He covers state politics and Maharashtra government’s administrative stories. Reports on the developments in finances, agriculture, social sectors among others.

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