Maharashtra: Not Lockdown But 50% Restriction Imposed

Hotels, restaurants, cinemas, and multiplexes shall be permitted to operate at only 50% capacity, shopping malls will implement stringent Covid protocols, and all gatherings have been banned

Mumbai, March 16: A day after the state crossed the 23 lakh Covid-19 case tally, the Maharashtra government on Monday implemented “strict restrictions of 50 per cent” rather than a total lockdown to control the coronavirus scourge.

Even as trading, business and commercial activities, besides the social milieu, improved a year after the virus entered Maharashtra, the state has gone back to being the worst-hit in the country.

Hotels, restaurants, cinemas, and multiplexes shall be permitted to operate at only 50 per cent capacity, shopping malls will implement stringent Covid protocols, and all social, religious, political and cultural gatherings have been banned.

Similarly, all offices will adhere to the 50 per cent staff norms with Work From Home encouraged, and entries to all places of worship would be strictly regulated, depending on the space available.

Violations of the norms would be punished with the concerned establishments ordered to shut down till the pandemic remains in force as per the Centre’s rules. Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that strong regulations are being imposed for marriages and other social gatherings to curb the virus, besides other measures.

The guest limit for weddings has been capped at 50 and 20 mourners for all funerals, said a notification late this evening.

Last week, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had warned of stringent measures if the people failed to cooperate in the war against the virus. Tope said that although lockdown may not be an option now, strict actions are, and hence the government has announced tightening of existing measures till March 31.

“Nearly 85 per cent of the cases are asymptomatic and are advised home treatment, and the death rate is low. The government is working on the 3-Ts – Tracking, Testing, Treatment – and the treatment facilities are being ramped up,” Tope said.

He said the vaccination has been accelerated in the state with efforts to increase the number of vaccination centres in both government and private hospitals. While there is no shortage of vaccines, Tope appealed to all people above 60 to get their dose as soon as possible.

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