Six states account for nearly 85 per cent of the new COVID-19 cases: Centre

MUMBAI: With coronavirus cases rising at an alarming rate, the Maharashtra government on Friday asked private offices, except those related to health and other essential services, to function at 50 percent of their capacity.

A fresh notification said that drama theatres and auditoriums in thestate too should operate only at 50 per cent of theircapacity till March 31.

Government and semi-government offices can take their own decision regarding attendance while ensuring adherence to COVID-19 protocols.

The decision can be taken by concerned office heads.

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Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte told PTI that offices can stagger their timings and encourage `work from home’.

Government and semi government offices have been given the permission to take their own decision as many of them are associated with COVID-19management, he said.

Cinema halls, drama theatres and auditoriums are already functioning at 50 percent capacity but the notification was issued to ensure the rules are followed strictly with a warning that the premises may be closed down if there are violations, said an official.

“We are not bringing fresh curbs, but only want to enforce the rules strictly,” he said.

On Thursday, the state saw a single-day rise of 25,833 coronavirus cases, the highest daily surge since the outbreak of the pandemic last year.

The notification also said that drama halls and auditoriums will not be used for religious, political, cultural or social gatherings.

If the order is violated, such establishments will be closed as long as the COVID-19 pandemic stays notified as a `disaster’ under the central government’s rules, it said.

The owner of the premises will also face legal action.

On March 15, the state government had notified that cinema halls, hotels, restuarants and offices except those related to health and essential services will function at 50 per cent of their capacity.

Manufacturing sector is allowed to function at full capacity, but the workforce may be reduced and working shifts can be increased to ensure there is no crowding on shop floor, the notification said.

In case of violation of rules such as mandatory wearing of masks, the manufacturing unit will be closed as long as COVID 19 pandemic stays notified as a disaster.