New Delhi: On Saturday, the Home Ministry clarified that only standalone shops are being allowed to open as per the directive and that the order does not apply to Covid-19 containment zones or liquor stores. Then in a further clarification, the government said that salons, barber shops and restaurants will continue to be closed as the relaxation was given to “shops selling items”.
The Ministry has cleared the air after initial confusion due to Friday night’s MHA order. The clarification says, “In urban areas, all standalone/neighbourhood shops & shops in residential complexes are allowed to open. Shops in markets/market complexes & shopping malls are not allowed to open.”
Here are all shops that can open:
- All shops in residential areas and markets in the neighbourhood will open that sell items.
- All shops that are registered under the Shops and Establishment Act of the respective State or the Union Territory, including those shops in residential complexes and market complexes, outside the municipal corporations and municipalities, will be allowed to open.
- In urban areas, non-essential goods and services will be allowed to operate provided they are in residential areas or are a standalone shop. This essentially means a sweet shop too can function.
- However, those shops in registered markets but outside municipal corporations and municipalities can open only with 50 per cent staff.
- Shops that fall under rural and semi-rural areas and markets that are registered can open. In cities, only standalone shops and residential shops can open.
Meanwhile, the ministry also clarified that sales by e-commerce companies will continue to be restricted to essential goods only.
So, what all that can’t be open?
- No shops have been allowed to open in multi-brand or single brand malls, it had said. So, one can forget about their plans for a mall visit.
- No movie theaters are being allowed to open.
- Liquor shops too will remain closed and the MHA has made it a point to stress on that.
- Gyms and swimming pools too will be off limit as they are areas where social distancing goes for a toss.
- Markets with a cluster of shops like that of south Delhi’s Khan Market too will remain shut.
- Since they don’t sell items but offer services, salons too will remain closed.
However, much of the final decision rests with respective state governments and UT administrations. But where they do allow these new reprieves, however conditionally, it will surely be a welcome change for a locked down populace.