13, Apr 2021 | CJP Team
With a fresh surge in cases of Covid-19 being reported from across the state and in view of the lackadaisical approach of the citizens towards following certain necessary safety protocols, the Government of Maharashtra has imposed a curfew within its territorial jurisdiction from 8 P.M on April 14, 2021, till 7 A.M on May 1, 2021.
Through this strict order, only the following entities were permitted to operate owing to their essentiality for the sustenance of the citizenry (list not exhaustive) :
- Hospitals, Clinics, Pharmacies and health care units supporting or manufacturing healthcare-related products etc.
- Veterinary Services.
- Groceries and Food Shops.
- Cold Storage warehousing services.
- Public Transport, Transport of Goods.
- ATMs, Postal services, Ports.
- RBI, SEBI and agencies associated with them.
- Water supply, Telecom, Accredited Media, Electricity, Gas.
- Export of commodities, cargo services.
- Agriculturally and pre-monsoon related activities.
- Producing raw material/packaging of goods.
- Private Security Services and Custom House Agents
- IT Sector
While there are restrictions on movement of people, those who are engaged in providing essential services as well as delivery of goods and services are allowed to travel for these purposes.
All the owners of the Essential shops are required to follow the safety protocols within their workplace and ensure compliance of the staff and the customers to that effect – the workmen are expected to secure a vaccination to perform their duties. Along the same lines, in case of a business that is closed, its owner is required to get the staff vaccinated at the earliest. If such a business fails to adhere to Covid Appropriate Behaviour, they will be fined Rs. 1,000/-. It is expected that shop owners engage in transactions with their customers with some form of transparent partition between them. The Local Disaster Management Authorities are obliged to ensure that public places do not become means of spreading the virus.
The State Government has imposed severe restrictions upon public transports, by allowing only 3 persons in rickshaws (Driver + 2 Passengers) and prohibiting standing passengers in buses. Taxis can only ply with the driver and not more than such number of passengers which is less than 50% of its capacity. Failure to wear a mask appropriately in any public transport shall render the offender liable to pay Rs. 500/-, while in the case of a taxis, the driver would be liable to pay the said amount; in case of trains, the passengers would be required to pay a fine of Rs. 500/- for failing to ensure Covid Appropriate Behaviour.
The Offices of the Central and the State Government, the PSUs, private banks, pharmacies, insurance companies, entities regulated by RBI and all non-banking financial corporations and micro-finance institutes shall be permitted to work with 50% capacity, such that no visitors would be permitted in their offices.
Private vehicles including buses are permitted to operate only in case of emergencies or valid reasons, subject to vaccination of staff and abidance with seating capacity; standing passengers are prohibited.
While dining in restaurants is strictly impermissible, hotels providing for lodging and food both may cater to their customers; home-delivery shall be allowed. All manufacturing units producing essential goods shall be permitted to operate in full capacity while those entities involving labourers living within the vicinity of such units may also function with less than 10% of the managerial staff coming from outside.
Export units shall also be allowed to operate. Factories however are under an obligation to routinely scan for the body temperature of their labourers and are required to set up their quarantine centres in cases where there are more than 500 workers. Notably, in case a worker tests positive for Covid-19, the factory should quarantine other labourers who came into their contact. Such workers will continue to be paid during the quarantine period and the unit shall be closed until it is completely sanitised. The worker tested positive shall be allowed paid medical leave.
Vendors serving food on the roadside may operate but to the extent of providing parcels or home delivery – any violation to that effect shall compel the authority to shut down the services of the vendor until the pandemic is over. Likewise, a fine of Rs. 500/- would be levied upon the customers for failing to show Covid Appropriate Behaviour.
While home delivery of newspapers, periodicals and journals is permitted, saloons and spans are to remain shut. Likewise, no religious functions of such gatherings shall be allowed and schools, colleges, coaching classes shall also be closed, though students shall be permitted to attend physical exams. Places of worship are to remain closed, though the internal services may be permitted with no visitors. While marriages would be allowed with 25% capacity, not more than 20 people are permitted to attend funerals.
E-Commerce shall remain active to the extent of delivering essentials, while construction projects may continue only in cases where the workers are living on such site- in case a worker tests positive, he shall be provided with a paid medical leave. While Co-operative Housing Societies with more than 5 positive cases shall be declared as a micro-containment zone, the following shall remain closed:
- All establishments, public places and activities not specified as essential
- Cinema halls, drama theatres and auditoria
- Amusement parks, video game parlours, clubs, swimming pools, gyms and sports complexes
- Shooting for films, serials and adverts will not be allowed
- All shops, malls and shopping centres that are not performing essential services
- Public places like beaches, gardens and open spaces
What is noteworthy about this order is how the Government of Maharashtra has ensured that workers do not lose their jobs because of testing positive for Covid-19. Providing paid medical leave in such unprecedented times is an excellent move and helps in reducing the anxiety among people, especially those hailing from financially weak backgrounds. Along the same lines, the Government of Maharashtra has also assured the distribution of 3KG wheat and 2KG rice for free for one month, thus protecting their right to food.
The detailed order may be read here: