NEW DELHI: In a major development, the Centre late on Friday night allowed the opening of all neighbourhood shops and standalone stores in urban residential areas. In rural areas, it allowed the opening of all shops, including those selling non-essential goods.
The order of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said all shops, including those in residential complexes and market complexes, except shops in multi-brand and single-brand malls outside the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, can now function with 50% strength of workers. In other words, all rural shops can now be open.
As for non-rural areas, it added exemption sub-clause: “All shops, including neighbourhood shops and standalone shops, shops in residential complexes, within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, registered under the Shops and Establishment Act of the respective State/UT, except shops in market complexes and multi-brand and single-brand malls, with 50% strength of workers with wearing of masks and social distancing being mandatory.”
However, the new relaxations will not apply to hotspot areas or containment zones.
The order created some confusion because it mentioned, “Modifications In Sub-clause 1 (x), the term ‘shopping complexes’ is replaced with ‘market complexes within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities.”
But the guidelines issued on April 15 includes only the following categories in clause x: “All cinema halls, mails. shopping complexes, gymnasiums, sports complexes, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places.”
To address the confusion, the MHA tweeted: “All registered shops...including shops in residential complexes, neighbourhood & standalone shops exempted from #lockdown restrictions... Market complexes, except those within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, are allowed to open.”