MUMBAI: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday ordered hotels and restaurants in the state to ensure strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols in their premises and not force the state to enforce drastic measures like lockdown.
Speaking at a virtual meeting attended by representatives of hotel and restaurant associations, shopping centre groups, the CM said a "lackadaisical" attitude towards outbreak norms had crept in lately.
"Do not force us to impose a strict lockdown. Consider this as the last warning. Follow all the rules. Everyone has to realise there is a difference between self-discipline and restrictions," Thackeray said.
The CM pointed out that crowds had increased in most places since activities resumed in a phased manner from October, and safety rules were not being followed and this had resulted in a steep surge in cases.
Incidentally, Maharashtra on Saturday recorded 15,602 COVID-19 cases and 88 deaths, taking the tally to 22,97,793 and the toll to 52,811.
"Last week, a Central team visited Mumbai and one of the members told me no one was wearing masks or following social distancing at a hotel they visited. Initially, hotels, restaurants were adhering strictly to COVID-19 norms, but now everyone has become lackadaisical," he said.
He said his government was not in favour of a lockdown to tackle the latest surge and asked people to cooperate to avoid having to take such a drastic decision.
Mumbai municipal commissioner IS Chahal suggested that the hotel and restaurant associations can organise flying squads to check if outbreak norms were being followed.
These association said member establishments not adhering to rules will be removed, while shopping centre representatives said they could deploy "COVID marshals" to check people in malls, while entry into food courts will be restricted.