On April 24, 2020 Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order signed by Secretary Ajay Bhalla allowing opening of shops including those located in residential complexes within municipal areas with a 50% strength along with proper precautions.
The Ministry amended its April 15, 2020 order and stated that “all shops, including neighbourhood shops and standalone shops, shops in residential complexes, within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, registered under Shops and Establishment Act of the respective State and UT" will be allowed to open during lockdown.
However, the order also made it clear that shops in marketplaces, multi-brand and single-brand malls located in municipality areas shall continue to remain closed till May 3, 2020.
Ministry further added that "All shops registered under the the Shops and Establishment Act of the respective State/UT, including shops in residential complexes and market complexes, except shops in multi-brand and single brand malls, outside the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, with 50 per cent strength of workers with wearing of masks and social distancing being mandatory" will be allowed to function.
But there will be no exemptions given to hotspots and containment areas.
What is allowed to open and what is not:
- Standalone shops like a dealer of electronics and electrical items and other shops in residential areas in urban centers can open.
- E-commerce companies will continue to be permitted to sell essential goods only.
- All shops in small market complexes or single dealers in rural or semi-rural areas can also sell their items to the public.
- All these shops have to be registered under the Shops and Establishment Act of respective states and Union territories, which means a roadside barber or mechanic, who is unlikely to have a registration, cannot open their shop.
“The latest decision will reopen major economic activity in rural, semi-rural and even urban areas and concerns raised by people on social media about non-availability of certain items will now be addressed,” a senior government official, who did not wish to be named, said.
“However, everyone should observe complete safety measures as we are still in a critical phase of Covid-19 spread,” the official said.
- However, shops in market complexes, single brand or multi-brand malls or those in Covid-19 hotspots or containment zones as well as liquor shops, gyms, bars, sports complexes and theatres, will not be allowed to function.
- The order will benefit the rural areas the most, opening up the commercial activities further as all non-essential items will now be available to the public through these shops.
- The order comes as a major relief for people as several non-essential items were unavailable since March 24 and also after a month since India was put under a nationwide lockdown.
The concessions have not been extended to shops in hotspots or containment zones and states and Union territories are free to take any decision to close down a particular market or shop if they feel the relaxations could threaten their Covid-19 measures.
The Joint Secretary Home Affairs Punya Salila Srivastava clarified via a tweet that “Hair salons and barber shops render services. Our order is applicable on shops which deal in sale of items. There is no order to open barber shops and hair salons. There is no order to open liquor shops too.
India’s tally of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) stands at 24,506—including 18,668 active cases, 5063 cured, discharged or migrated and 775 deaths, according to the health ministry’s dashboard on Saturday (April 25, 2020) morning.