State government to discuss on relaxations to be introduced from next month

  • | Monday | 27th July, 2020

Days ahead of the end of the Covid-19 lockdown in Maharashtra on July 31, the state government has started brainstorming about relaxations to be introduced from the first week of August.

Days ahead of the end of the Covid-19 lockdown in Maharashtra on July 31, the state government has started brainstorming about relaxations to be introduced from the first week of August.

The state government, however, is treading cautiously and may not ease curbs as liberally as other states or the Centre.

Though Covid-19 cases in the state have risen by more than 9,000 cases a day over the past week, the Maharashtra government has resolved to gradually open up activities after the sixth phase of lockdown ends on July 31.

Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, in an interview to Saamana, said the lockdown won’t be abruptly lifted as he doesn’t want a second wave of infections in Maharashtra, as has happened in some countries. The state plans a gradual rollout of relaxations.

“The discussion on opening up activities has begun. The decision will be taken in the next few days and the notification will be issued by July 31,” said Maharashtra chief secretary Sanjay Kumar.

According to officials, inter-district and inter-state transport services won’t be allowed at this stage as Covid-19 cases are rapidly rising in rural areas of Maharashtra.

A state government official said on condition of anonymity: “At the beginning of July, we were thinking of allowing more transport facilities and additional workforce in offices. But the spike in cases in Mumbai Metropolitan Region and cities like Pune and other districts derailed this plan.

“There are demands for allowing gymnasiums and malls to reopen, but this is unlikely to be allowed immediately. Few more commercial and industrial activities that will not lead to too much crowding will be allowed.”

The official added the strategy for allowing activities will be fine tuned after meetings with the Centre and by following its plans for relaxations. He said Maharashtra is taking into account upcoming festivals such as Bakri Eid (August 1) and the 11-day Ganeshotsav (beginning from August 22) while rolling out relaxations.

Under the state’s “Mission Begin Again”, which was rolled out in June, Maharashtra allowed fitness activities in open spaces, while offices were permitted to function with 10% of their workforce. Shops were allowed to open on alternate days and salons were allowed to operate with strict protocols. It also allowed hotels, but not restaurants, to open from July 8.

Maharashtra recorded 201,038 infections (or 53.50% of the state’s total tally) in July alone, taking the total to 375,799. The death toll touched 13,656 on Sunday evening.



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