Shops can remain open till 8 pm in low-positivity districts in Maharashtra, CM Uddhav Thackeray

By PTI
PUNE: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said his government will issue orders on Monday allowing shops to remain open till 8 pm in the districts where the COVID-19 positivity rate is low.

He also said that allowing all segments of society in Mumbai local trains would be difficult “in the first phase” as the easing of curbs is being done slowly.

Speaking to reporters in Sangli, some 230 kilometres from here, Thackeray, however, appealed for cooperation from people in those areas where relaxing the norms was not possible currently due to the caseload.

“As far as giving relaxation is concerned, the state government is issuing an order today allowing shops to remain open till 8 pm (where positivity rate is low). However, where the number of cases is still not coming down, restrictions will remain the same,” he said.

Many traders in the state and the opposition BJP have been demanding that the timings of shops be extended till 8 pm from the current deadline of 4 pm.

Thackeray said the COVID-19 situation in all such districts, including Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur, Raigad, Ratnagiri, and Sindudurg, was a cause of worry.

“I have asked district collectors to increase the number of tests as well as doctors to ensure people are protected for COVID-19 as well as water-borne diseases,” he said.

Speaking on the issue of medical oxygen, the CM said that as per an estimate, the amount of LMO required in a possible third wave might be double of what was needed in the second wave, when Maharashtra had to procure it from other states.

Queried about allowing all segments of society in local trains in Mumbai, he said deciding on it “in the first phase” would be difficult as “what we are doing is giving relaxations slowly and going ahead by analyzing the effects and side-effects of it”.

He appealed to the private sector to split office timings to reduce the attendance in their premises at any one point of time, as well as opt for work from home and work in office turn by turn.

He also asked the manufacturing sector and other business units to create bio-bubble for employees.