Maha extends lockdown until July 31 with more restrictionsUpdated: Jun 30, 2020 00:01 IST
The Maharashtra government on Monday extended the ongoing coronavirus-enforced lockdown to July 31 and imposed stricter norms.
A day after chief minister Uddhav Thackeray warned people of stricter restrictions if violation of lockdown norms continued, the notification issued by the government has reduced shopping timings, restricted jogging and running to the neighbourhood and also told people in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) that travel within the region is allowed only for coming to offices.
The state government is also expected to defer its plan of extending relaxations by two weeks as cases in the state continue to increase significantly. With the addition of 5,257 cases on Monday, the number of people infected so far has risen to 1,69,883.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had announced on Sunday that there will be no lifting of the lockdown after it ends on June 30, although the state government will extend a few relaxations in a calibrated manner.
He, however, had expressed his unhappiness over the crowding at public places in cities and even in rural parts of the state. He had said the administration would be forced to impose stricter curbs if citizens did not follow lockdown norms.
While allowing non-essential shops to operate at regular working hours (9am to 9pm) on alternate days from June 5 under its Mission Begin Again — a staggered plan to lift curbs launched on May 31 — timings have now been restricted from 9am to 5pm for non-essential shops. This was after authorities reported unnecessary crowding on roads in the evening.
It has also clarified that travel permissions given within MMR are only for essential services and to facilitate office-goers and not for shopping and non-essential items. The notification said that physical activities such as jogging, running and cycling, which were allowed from June 3, are allowed only in the neighbourhood.
State government has also given powers to local authorities — district collectors, civic commissioners, police commissioners — to impose stricter norms according to the Covid-19 situation and if they feel necessary. The earlier order had mandated local authorities to consult with the state government in case any such need arose.
The state government is now considering to defer proposed relaxations by at least a couple of weeks in the prevailing conditions with the surge in Covid-19 cases. “CM spoke about the relaxations in his address on Sunday, but they are unlikely to come through at least for next two weeks. Cases are rising rapidly and most of them are due to the opening up of activities. We are at crucial stage of the fight against the pandemic and in such a scenario, immediate relaxations would not be wise,” a state government official said, after fresh rounds of meeting on Monday.
The state government was planning more relaxations for industrial and commercial activities and more transport facilities to supplement them. It was also planning to allow more staff in government and private offices.
The notification issued on Monday by chief secretary Ajoy Mehta, exercising the powers conferred under Disaster Management Act and Epidemic Diseases Act, said that the ongoing lockdown has been extended by a month as the government is convinced that it is still under the threat of the spread of the coronavirus. The state government has continued its demarcation of areas as red and non-red areas, on the basis of the spread of the disease. Areas governed by 19 municipal corporations, including nine in MMR, continued to be red zones with stricter lockdown norms. Maharashtra has 27 municipal corporations governing urban areas.
Thackeray announced on Sunday that further relaxations will be rolled out under Mission Begin Again in a phased manner. The notification has said that the relaxations will be notified in due course. “The relaxations will be given by issuing separate notifications, like issued for earlier four phases, with due care and very cautiously,” said a state government official requesting anonymity.
Mall, theatres, multiplexes, schools, colleges, gymnasiums, swimming pools remained to be shut across the state. Essential services have been allowed across the state, while shops and non-essential services are allowed with certain restrictions in red zones. Government and private offices are allowed to operate at 15 and 10% of their workforce (or 15 and 10 persons, whichever is greater) respectively. Non-essential services and intra-district public transportation have been allowed in non-red zones.