MUMBAI: As restrictions on movement were eased from Monday, a number of buses of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST) with seats occupied were seen plying in the city.
Offices started functioning in the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) and Lower Parel and shops in key market areas of Dadar, Colaba and Kurla also opened for businesses.
Even as the lockdown remains in force till June 30, the Maharashtra government, as part of the phase-wise reopening of the economy and public activities under 'Mission Begin Again', has allowed private offices to resume operations with 10 per cent staff.
Since the lockdown came into force in March, regular operations of BEST buses were suspended and services were available only for the essential services staff and health workers. Following relaxations in lockdown on Monday, around 2,100 buses hit the city roads till noon, a BEST statement said.
The BEST has decided to operate 250 more buses in Mumbai in addition to 1,800 to allow employees of government, private sectors and those who are self-employed to travel.
In the morning, long queues were seen at bus stops in some areas of suburban Malad, Mulund and neighbouring Thane city, as less number of buses were availablecompared to the number of people who came out to travel.
"The BEST has decided to allow only five people to stand in a bus after all the seats are occupied to maintain physical distancing. Thus, we had to say no to many people who were standing at the bus stops," a BEST official said.
Several offices in the business district of BKC and Lower Parel started functioning even as most of the employees have been working from home.
Shops in big market areas of Dadar, Kurla, Colaba and Ghatkopar opened for business with many of them santising their premises before allowing in customers. In the rest of Maharashtra, except red zones, life is returning to normalcy.
In Pune, Nashik and Nagpur, shops and other commercial establishments opened in the morning and will continue to operate till around 7 pm. The extension of shop timings will be done in a stepwise manner. Pune Municipal Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said that many hotels and restaurants have also started food takeaways and they will soon start accepting customers as well.
Meanwhile, temples, mosques, churches and other places of worship were yet to open across the state. "It will take some to open these places for mass gatherings," an official from the state law and judiciary department said.