A week after it imposed lockdown-like curbs across the State, the Maharashtra government on Tuesday imposed additional restrictions by curtailing the timings of shops selling essential food items like groceries, vegetables and poultry.
An order issued by Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 and the Disaster Management Act, 2005 states that “all groceries, vegetables shops, fruit vendors, dairies, bakeries, confectionaries, as well as all other types of food shops (including chicken, mutton, fish and eggs)” are to kept open only between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Shops related to agricultural implements and farm produce, pet food shops, and those related to materials for the impending rainy season are to follow this rule as well.
A number of districts across the State like Satara, Solapur and Amravati, among others, have already curtailed timings of essential shops owing to a massive surge in infections.
According to the new order, the restrictions will come into effect from 8 p.m. on Tuesday and will last until 7 a.m. on May 1 until further notice.
The order further permits local disaster management authorities to include any additional entities/ services as “essential” under the previous order of April 13 (when the lockdown-like curbs were announced) after consultation with the State Disaster Management authorities.
The purpose of the latest curbs is to discourage large congregations before grocery, vegetable and fruit shops still witnessed in Mumbai, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region and Pune, among other cities in the State.
With the State recording an average 60,000 cases and 400 deaths daily for the last 10 days, Maharashtra’s active case tally — the highest in India — is nudging the alarming figure of seven lakh. The State has reported more than 60,000 deaths since the eruption of the pandemic in March last year.