On Friday night, the government allowed the opening of neighbourhood and standalone shops, including those located in residential complexes within municipal areas, but at a 50 percent strength with necessary precautions.
It was however clarified in the order signed by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla that shops in market places, multi-brand and single-brand malls located in municipality areas shall continue to remain closed till May 3.
Amending its 15 April order, the Union Home Ministry said: "all shops, including neighbourhood shops and standalone shops, shops in residential complexes, within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, registered under the Shops and Establishment Act of the respective State and UT" will be allowed to open during the lockdown.
The shops will mandatorily have 50 percent strength of workers wearing masks and following social distancing. Opening of neighbourhood shops is being seen as a relief to people who have been under lockdown since 24 March to contain the spread of novel coronavirus. The Home Ministry order comes on the eve of holy month Ramzan for Muslims.
The ministry also said shops located in registered markets outside the municipal corporations and municipalities can open after following the drill of social distancing and wearing of masks but with 50 percent of strength. However, single and multi-brands shall continue to remain closed in these areas also.
"All shops registered under the Shops and Establishment Act of the respective State/UT, including shops in residential complexes and market complexes, except shops in multi-brand and single-brand malls, outside the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, with 50 percent strength of workers with wearing of masks and social distancing being mandatory" will be allowed to function.
However, the exemptions will not be given in hotspots and containment areas.