Maharashtra: Shops may open for longer hours as govt set to relax some restrictions this week.

Maharashtra government may announce more relaxations this week in the Covid- related curbs imposed during the second wave of coronavirus pandemic in the state.

According to a report published in the Hindustan Times, the state government is considering extending the duration of keeping the shops open in the state as the number of new Covid-19 cases is staying between 6000-7000 for the past three weeks.

Maharashtra on Sunday reported 6,843 new coronavirus positive cases and 123 fatalities, raising the overall tally to 62,64,922 and the toll to 1,31,552, the state health department said. Maharashtra’s case recovery rate now stands at 96.33 per cent while the fatality rate is 2.09 per cent. Mumbai reported 364 new cases and 10 deaths, taking the count of infections to 7,34,118 and the number of COVID-19 fatalities to 15,837.

The state which has less than 1 lakh active cases may announce relief for the hospitality sector as it is one of the most worst-hit due to Covid-19.

“The government can give some relaxations as cases have stabilised. However, at the same time, strict monitoring should be followed daily for various aspects like daily cases, positivity rates, bed occupancy as well as liquid-oxygen consumption,” said Dr Subhash Salunkhe, advisor to the state on Covid-19 management, as quoted by Hindustan Times.

He said the timings of the shops can be extended from the closing time of 4pm along with an emphasis on vaccination of those working in these establishments. However, Salunkhe said local trains need to be opened in a staggered manner and preference given to those fully vaccinated. “There should be strict enforcement on Covid-19 appropriate behaviour,” he added.

The Indian Hotels and Restaurant Association (AHAR), an association of restaurant owners, has petitioned the government to extend the timings. “The government needs to allow us to operate till at least 11pm as the cases have come down drastically. We are ready to operate at 50% capacity and also follow all guidelines. The rules need to be relaxed as we are unable to sustain at all in this restrictive timings,” said Shetty.

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