All non-essential services, including private offices and stores, in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur will remain shut till March 31 in light of the continued spread of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced on Friday.
Grocery stores, milk centres, pharmacies and banks are exempt from the restrictions, which come into effect from Friday midnight. Similarly, the stock exchange, stock broking offices, clearing corporation and primary dealers under ambit of Reserve Bank of India and Securities and Exchange Board of India will remain open.
All government offices will function with 25 per cent attendance and local trains and buses will continue to operate as usual in Mumbai to allow for smooth functioning of essential services. Factories can function with 50 per cent of staff strength. School examinations for classes one to eight, too, are being cancelled.
The enhanced restrictions are being put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 which has so far infected 52 persons in the state. Over 40 of these cases are among those with a history of foreign travel and the government is working hard to ensure there is no community transmission.
“Residents have responded positively to our appeals to work from home and crowds have lessened. But we need to be careful and take precautions for next 15 days,” Thackeray said.
Earlier in the week, cinema halls, parks, gyms and swimming pools were closed while stores in crowded areas were allowed to function on alternate days. In Pune and Nagpur the local administrations ordered the closure of restaurants and bars and some of them have kept only their kitchens open for take away services.
“We are also working to find a solution to financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 crisis and a working group has been formed to look into it,” Thackeray added.