Staff Writer @Blink

New Delhi, April 25: The Home Ministry has now asked all states to consider allowing most categories of shops to resume operations except shopping malls and liquor shops.

Giving relaxation in the category of Commercial and private establishments, the ministry has issued an order to all states to allow opening of all shops registered under Shops and Establishment Act of respective States including shops in residential complexes, neighborhood and standalone shops.

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), on 15.04.2020, had issued an order to exempt certain activities under the consolidated revised guidelines to fight COVID-19, in certain areas not included in hotspots/containment zones.

“Shops in market complexes, except those within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, would be allowed to open. Shops in single and multi-brand malls would not be allowed to open anywhere,” a release from the ministry said.

It also added, “It would be mandatory for all permitted shops to open only with 50% strength of workers, ensure compulsory wearing of masks and strict adherence to social distancing norms,”

The ministry however said that it is important to note that these relaxations in lockdown restrictions would not applicable in hotspots/containment zones.

The ministry said that in rural areas, all shops, except those in shopping malls are allowed to open. In urban areas, all standalone shops, neighborhood shops & shops in residential complexes are allowed to open.  Shops in markets/market complexes and shopping malls are not allowed to open.

It was also clarified that sale by e-commerce companies will continue to be permitted for essential goods only. The ministry clarified that sale of liquor and other items continues to be prohibited as specified in the National Directives for COVID-19 management.

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 the states.

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