In a relief to small traders and shop owners, Maharashtra has allowed standalone non essential shops to open from June 1 with restricted timelimit. Delivery of essentials by the E-commerce website has also been allowed.
As per the new rules, “all essential shops that are currently allowed to operate between 7 AM and 11 AM may be allowed to operate between 7 AM and 2 PM. In the case of all non- essential shops (stand-alone shops & not inside shopping centers/ malls), decisions regarding the allowing of the opening of such shops along with the time limit for the functioning of the same may be taken by respective Disaster Management authorities. These, if allowed to open, however, shall not be opened beyond that allowed for essential shops and shall not be allowed to open on weekends. Delivery of Non-Essential items along with essential items through E-Commerce may be allowed in such districts,” states the lockdown lifting guidelines.
“Agriculture sector related shops may remain open till 2 PM on weekdays. Respective DMA however, may extend these timings on weekdays or may allow for some period on weekends, taking into the considerations of the requirements of sowing season and in view of impending monsoon,” states the guidelines.
At the same time, Maharashtra has restricted the timings of movement of citizens after 3 PM. “Post 3 PM there shall be restrictions on movement except for medical and other emergencies, or for home deliveries allowed under the order dated 12121 May, 2021,” says the guidelines.
The state government has lifted the restrictions for cargo movements and deliveries to shops and establishments beyond the opening time which are meant for replenishments of stock. But, the wolesale and other shops cannot serve any customers beyond permitted times over the counter. Anyone breaking these orders shall be closed down till the period notification of Corona Pandemic is in operation in addition to fines mentioned in order dated 12th May, 2021.
The state has asked the district officials to consider allowing Home deliveries for longer periods.
Traders and independent shopkeepers have been protesting the frequent shut downs of the non essential shops taking a toll on their business. In the case of rise of corona cases, the first to be closed is the non essential shops. In many places non essential shops have been operating with shutter down dodging the police and municipal authorities.