Centre allows opening of standalone shops; markets, malls to remain shut

Neighbourhood shops selling items like garments, mobile phones, hardware and stationery can open

The order said the shops would be functioning with 50 per cent of workforce and adhere strictly to precautions like social distancing and wearing of masks. Photo: PTI (file)

The Centre has allowed neighbourhood and standalone shops that sell items like garments, mobile phones, hardware and stationery to open. But shops located in market places, malls, and under COVID-19 hotspot and containment zones will continue to remain shut until May 3.

Amending its April 15 order, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs said all shops, including those in residential complexes, within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, registered under the Shops and Establishment Act of the respective State and UT would be allowed to open during the lockdown.

It added that all shops located outside the municipal corporations and municipalities, except those in single and multi-brand shopping malls, are allowed to open. The order said these shops would be functioning with 50 per cent of the workforce and adhere strictly to precautions like social distancing and wearing of masks.

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The Ministry also said malls, liquor and cigarette shops, sale of non-essential items through e-commerce platforms would continue to remain shut. Restaurants, hair salons and barbershops will not be allowed to open as these render services and do not fall under the shop category.

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“It is clarified that sale by e-commerce companies will continue to be permitted for essential goods only,” the order said and also added that sale of liquor and other items continues to be prohibited as specified in the national directives for COVID-19 management.

The ministry said that liquor shops were given licence under the Excise Act of the states and the establishments thrown open from Saturday were covered under the Shops and Establishment Act of the states. Sale of cigarettes, gutka are continued to be prohibited during the lockdown.

“As specified in the consolidated revised guidelines, these shops will not be permitted to open in areas, whether rural or urban, which are declared as containment zones by respective States and Union Territories,” the statement said.

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