Covid-19 lockdown: Govt allows standalone shops to reopen, with conditions

FILE PHOTO: A shopkeeper wears a mask and sanitizes his hands at Crawford market in Mumbai | Photo: PTI
In a major relief to shopkeepers and buyers, the government has allowed all shops in residential areas, except those in malls, to reopen from Saturday, albeit with some some riders.

The shops, including those located in residential complexes within municipal areas, are allowed to operate, but at a 50 per cent strength and after taking necessary precautions, such as wearing face masks, gloves and maintaining social-distancing norms during the ongoing lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19). However, the relaxations are not applicable in Covid-19 hotspots and containment zones.

The home ministry has also clarified that in rural areas, all shops except those in shopping malls are allowed to open. And in urban areas, all standalone shops, neighbourhood shops and shops in residential complexes are allowed to open. But shops in markets or market complexes and shopping malls will continue to remain closed.

Moreover, it has been made clear that sale by e-commerce companies will continue to be permitted for essential goods only. It is further mentioned that sale of liquor and other items continues to be prohibited as specified in the National Directives for Covid-19 management.

The ministry order, signed by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, has said clearly that shops in market places, and multi-brand and single-brand malls located in municipality areas shall continue to remain closed till May 3. Shops have been allowed outside the city limits except those in malls with 50 per cent workforce, and wearing of masks has been made compulsory.


On April 15, the government had notified the industries and commercial establishments which can open in certain zones where there are no or less coronavirus cases. These relaxations are given by the state governments depending on the situation in a particular area. 

In a modification of the earlier order, the Ministry of Home Affairs has replaced the term "shopping complexes" with "market complexes" within the limits of municipal corporations and "municipalities". 

#COVID19 update

All registered shops regd under Shops & Establishment Act of respective States/ UTs, including shops in residential complexes, neighborhood & standalone shops exempted from #lockdown restrictions.

Prohibited: Shops in single & multi brand malls

— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) April 24, 2020
"All shops registered under the Shops and Establishment Act of the respective State/Union Territory, 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 per cent strength of workers with wearing of masks and social distancing being mandatory," reads the MHA order.

The order further states, "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 Union Territory, except shops in market complexes and multi-brand and single-brand malls, with 50 per cent strength of workers with wearing of masks and social distancing being mandatory."

This order has been sent to the Chief Secretaries of the states and administrators of the Union Territories and is in continuation of the guidelines for the enforcement of lockdown. It carries amendments in the order issued on April 15 detailing which industries and commercial establishments can open with safeguards.

Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of Covid-19. The lockdown was later extended till May 3.

India's total number of coronavirus (Covid-19) positive cases has climbed to 24,506 including 18,668 active cases, 5,063 cured/discharged/ and 775 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

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