Govt allows neighbourhood shops to open with riders

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India has on Saturday partially opened up the commercial sector by allowing all standalone shops, neighbourhood shops and the ones in residential complexes in rural and municipality and municipal corporation limits to open subject to strict compliance with the lockdown guidelines.

The ministry of home affairs has allowed the relaxation to shops registered under the Shops and Establishment Act of the respective states and union territories. These relaxations will, however, not be applicable to shops in market places, multi-brand and single brand malls and market complexes. They will remain closed till May 3.

Shops that render services like - barber shops, hair salons and liquor stores - will also not be covered by the new relaxation. Joint Secretary (Home Affairs) Punya Salila Srivastava said that the order is applicable only to shops which deal in sale of items. There is no order to open barber shops & hair salons that render services. There is no order to open liquor shops too, he added.

The relaxation will also not be applicable to shops and business establishments in coronavirus hotspots and containment zones, where curbs will continue.

Shops are allowed to remain functional only with 50% of the staff. Wearing masks is mandatory for all. Union home ministry added that the social distancing must be strictly maintained.

The ministry also added that sales by e-commerce companies like Amazon, Flipkart will continue to be restricted to essential goods only. "Sale by e-commerce companies will continue to be permitted for essential goods only," the ministry said.

India is under nationwide lockdown till May 3 to curb the spread of the virus which killed over 2 million worldwide. Earlier this week, the Centre eased few lockdown norms in least affected places. The ministry had also permitted information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services firms to function at 50 per cent strength beginning from April 20.

Image Credit: ANI

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