The Maharashtra government on Tuesday clarified that all shops it has allowed to remain open, without distinction of those supplying essential or non-essential goods, will function to their full operational timing and days to avoid crowding.
It said that no restrictions like timing/day will be imposed on them by any authority except by the municipal commissioners of corporations in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), the Pune Metropolitan Region and Nagpur, Aurangabad and Nashik and by district collectors in the rest of the state.
The government said it is very necessary to ensure smooth and seamless availability of supplies during the coronavirus-triggered lockdown.
It said regulating markets and shops with various restrictions such as specific days, timings, entry points, among others, was proving to be counter-productive. The government noted such restrictions are seen to be attracting crowds due to uncertainty.
The government also said only the municipal commissioners or district collectors can change the perimeter/boundary of the coronavirus containment area they had determined.
In a statement issued later, the government said that at some places local officers insisted that shops be kept open only on certain days and time slots.
Customers got confused and this led to crowding at these shops and hence the clarification, the statement said.
The Maharashtra government had on Sunday announced that shops selling non-essential commodities like clothes, footwear, liquor, stationery and others would also be allowed to open from Monday (May 4) in the COVID-19 non-containment zones across the state.
In its order, the government had said all malls, market complexes and markets will remain closed in urban areas. However, shops selling essential goods in markets and market complexes are permitted to remain open.
All standalone (single) shops, neighbourhood (colony) shops, shops in residential complexes — without any distinction of essential and non-essential — have been allowed to remain open in urban areas excluding containment zones.
It, however, had said that in areas under the MMR, municipal corporations of Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Malegaon if there are more than five shops in a lane/along road then besides all the shops selling essential goods, up to a maximum of five shops selling non-essential goods will be permitted to remain open.
All shops in rural areas, except in malls, are permitted to remain open without any distinction of essential and non-essential, it had said and stressed on observing social distancing strictly.