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Amid Lockdown: Govt allows all shops barring those in malls to open with 50% employees

In further relaxations during the Covid-19 lockdown, the government on Friday night allowed the opening of shops in residential complexes.

But the restrictions will continue for malls in rural areas as well those in urban areas. This relaxation is also not applicable for containment zones.

According to the amendment to the revised guidelines signed by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, these shops, which are registered under the Shops and Establishment Act of the respective state, can operate only with 50% of the workers. They will also have to compulsorily wear masks and maintain social distancing.

All shops, including those in residential complexes and market complexes, outside the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, can function. In rural areas, neither multi-brand nor single brand malls are allowed to open. In areas under corporations and municipalities, all shops, including neighbourhood shops and standalone shops, shops in residential complexes can operate, according to the latest order.

However, in these areas shops in market complexes and malls, both multi-brand and a single brand, cannot open.

Till now, only shops selling essential services like groceries were allowed to open.

The move is expected to help the retail traders, as the government moves to open up economic activity. The government had on April 19 issued an order reversing its decision to allow e-commerce firms to deliver non-essential items.

The order adds more services to the revised guidelines published on April 15 and additions and exclusions later on April 16, April 19 and April 21.Earlier, the MHA had allowed selling educational book shops and electric fans as well as inter-state movement of planting materials and honey bee colonies, honey and other beehive products besides prepaid mobile recharge utilities and food processing units in urban areas.

Under the agriculture sector, facilities for export and import such as pack houses, inspection and treatment facilities for seeds and horticulture products are also allowed. Movement within and outside the state of planting materials and honey bee colonies, honey and beehive products are also allowed.

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