A month after the all-India lockdown was implemented, neighbourhood and standalone shops, including those located in residential complexes within municipal areas, reopened on Satuday. This was following a home ministry order, which ended the essential-non essential categorisation and allowed shops selling all kinds of goods to open, giving reprieve to public at large.These shops were allowed to open with a 50 per cent staff strength. Workers are required to wear masks and follow social distancing. Amending its April 15 order, the Union Home Ministry said “all shops, including neighbourhood shops and standalone shops, and those in residential complexes, within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, registered under the the Shops and Establishment Act of the respective State and UT” will be allowed to open during the lockdown.
However, the exemptions have not been extended in hotspots and containment areas. The order signed by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, has also made it clear that shops in market places, multi-brand and single brand malls located in municipality areas shall continue to remain closed till May 3. The relaxation will nor apply to hair salons, barber shops and liquor shops. Opening of neighbourhood shops is being seen as a relief to people who have been under lockdown since March 24 to contain the spread of novel coronavirus. The Home Ministry order came on the eve of Muslim holy month Ramzan.