All shops, offices providing non-essential services to remain shut till March 31, announces CM Thackeray

All shops, offices providing non-essential services to remain shut till March 31, announces CM Thackeray
Although all shops and offices providing non-essential services have ordered to remain shut till March 31, public transport services like railways, buses & metro will continue to operate

In a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus outbreak, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday announced the closure of all non-essential shops and workplaces in major cities in Maharashtra, including Mumbai and Pune, till March 31.

The shutdown will be applicable to all shops, offices and other commercial establishments in Mumbai, Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad, and Nagpur, Thackeray told reporters earlier today.

The order will come into effect from midnight of March 20 and remain applicable till March 31.

Private offices will have the option of asking employees to work from home. However, if that is not possible, they will have to shut the office. Further, government offices will operate at 25 percent attendance instead of 50 percent announced earlier.

“Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announces that from this midnight, all workplaces will remain closed till 31st March. This is applicable in Mumbai, MMR Region, Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad, and Nagpur. Government offices to operate at 25% attendance,” State Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray said.

The order will not be applicable to those providing essential services, like banks, grocery (kirana) stores, medical shops, clinics, and hospitals.

“Essential services shall operate, any other services important to operate, the collectors shall specify from time to time. Groceries, milk and other day-to-day items shall be available. Citizens are required to reduce unnecessary movement,” he added.

Notably, public transport services like local trains, BEST buses, metro, and monorail will continue to work. Even autorickshaws and taxis, including those affiliated with aggregators, will continue to operate.

“The trains and buses are the city’s lifeline and cannot be stopped. I have been advised to take this step. But doing this will affect the movement of those working in places which provide essential services to the city,” the CM said in a televised address.

Thackeray appealed employers to ensure minimum wages are paid out to employees during this critical time.

“I appeal to employers to ensure that the minimum wage of their workers are ensured during the shutdown period,” he said adding that it is only humanity that will win against all odds,” he added.

Last week, the BMC had made it mandatory for private offices in Mumbai to operate at below 50 percent attendance after a nod from the CM. The revised order comes in lieu of the rising number of coronavirus cases in the state.

“The total number of coronavirus cases reached 52 on Friday with three more persons testing positive,” state Health Minister Rajesh Tope announced today. Maharashtra has seen more COVID-19 cases than any other state in the country.

The state has completely banned all flights from worst-hit 12 countries besides exercising extreme precautions for flights from all other nations at the three international airports in Mumbai, Pune, and Nagpur since the past month, Tope said.

Meanwhile, the BMC has also sought help from Mumbai Police to track individuals who have been advised to home quarantine after several people violated the instructions and ventured out in the open and were caught using public transport.

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