Maharashtra extends lockdown till September 30; inter-district travel restrictions relaxed

The Asian Age.  | Shahab Ansari

India, All India

Schools, colleges, cinema halls and swimming pools will continue to remain closed till September end.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. (PTI)

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government on Monday announced extension of the coronavirus-induced lockdown till midnight of September 30. While restrictions on inter-district movement of persons and goods have been lifted, schools, colleges, cinema halls and swimming pools will continue to remain closed till  September end.

As per the new guidelines issued, hotels and lodges will be allowed to operate at 100 per cent capacity from September 2. No separate permission/approval/e-permit will be required for the vehicles and persons travelling therein for such movements, the government said in its Mission Begin Again order that encapsulated “Unlock” norms.

The Uddhav Thackeray government also allowed passenger movement by private bus/mini bus and other operators. However, metro rail services won't ply as yet. The state's Transport Commissioner will issue the standard operating procedure (SOP) for the same. The government said that outdoor physical activities with no restrictions will be allowed.

Easing of restrictions came even as Maharashtra continues to register a record number of new coronavirus cases with no flattening of curve in sight in the state.

The order further stated that the Maharashtra governments Group A and Group B officers can attend offices to 100 per cent of their strength across the state from September 2. Other government staffers can attend offices with 30 per cent of their strength or minimum 30 employees, whichever is more, in areas under municipal corporations in Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad and others — all COVID-19 hotspots.

In the rest of the state, the non-Group A and Group B staffers can attend office to the extent of their 50 per cent strength or minimum 50 employees whichever is more, the order said.

The government also called for appointing a vigilance officer in every office to ensure social distancing norms are observed to contain the spread of COVID-19. All non-essential shops will be allowed to continue as per relaxations issued from time to time and liquor shops will continue to operate.

The MVA government made it clear that the schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will continue to remain closed till September 30 and reiterated online/distance learning shall continue to be permitted and shall be encouraged. Cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres (including those in malls and market complexes), bars, auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places will continue to remain closed.