A day after the Union Ministry of Home Affairs allowed the opening of standalone and neighbourhood shops, several states have decided to implement the guidelines, while some states are yet to make a decision. However, Maharashtra has announced that lockdown rules would remain unchanged in the state until May 3.
On April 24 night, the ministry issued revised guidelines on the opening of shops that sell items like garments, mobile phones, hardware and stationery items. But shops located in market places, malls, COVID-19 hotspots and containment zones will continue to remain shut until May 3, the order said.
Claiming that there was no clarity in the Centre’s order, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said, “We will get more clarity after a video conference with the Prime Minister on Monday.” He added that the government had not taken any decision on the order, but there would be no further relaxation in lockdown rules till May 3.
States like Assam, Jharkhand and West Bengal are yet to make a decision on the opening of the shops. The Assam Cabinet will decide on the implementation of the order at its meeting on Monday, state minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said. A senior official of the West Bengal government said the MHA order was being studied and a final call would be taken soon. “We are looking into it. A decision is yet to be taken on it,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Jharkhand government asked deputy commissioners of all the 24 districts to assess the local conditions before making a decision on opening shops during the lockdown. A highly-placed source in the Hemant Soren government said, “As of now, the shops selling essential commodities are functioning.”
On the other hand, the Delhi government has decided to implement the latest guidelines. A Delhi government official said non-essential shops would be allowed to open, but not in coronavirus containment zones. Standalone shops and shops in residential areas will open with social-distancing strictly followed, the official said. There are 92 containment zones in the national capital.
The Gujarat government too has allowed standalone shops to operate across the state from Sunday (April 26), except in areas declared cluster containment zones by local authorities. However, no shops will be open in six out of 48 wards in Ahmedabad, which is Gujarat’s worst coronavirus-hit city. The six wards are part of containment zones.
In Madhya Pradesh, shops reopened in some places on Saturday (April 25). The state government may issue guidelines about the opening of shops to clear away confusion, if any, an official said. However, shops remained closed in cities like Indore, Dewas, Khargone, Ujjain, Bhopal, Jabalpur and some other districts which have seen a large number of COVID-19 cases.
As no positive case of COVID-19 has so far been reported in Nagaland, the state government has allowed partial relaxation in the opening of shops in residential complexes with immediate effect.