The Maharashtra government on Monday extended the operational timings of restaurants and shops in the state as it eased coronavirus-induced restrictions.

It also allowed amusement parks to reopen from Friday. However, water rides in amusement parks will not be allowed to operate, reported Mint.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has directed officials to prepare guidelines for extending the timings of shops and restaurants, his office said in a statement. Currently, shops and restaurants are permitted to function between 7 am and 10 pm at 50% of its seating capacity, according to the Hindustan Times.

The decision to ease restrictions was taken after Thackeray held a meeting with the state’s Covid-19 task force on Monday. The chief minister’s office said that restrictions are gradually being lifted as Covid-19 cases are reducing.

The chief minister also directed the state health department to remain in contact with the Centre about inoculating children against the coronavirus and to ensure that vaccines are available for all beneficiaries.

“He also directed the department to make arrangements [for vaccination of children] once a decision is taken about it,” the chief minister’s office tweeted.

Cinema halls and theatres will also reopen from Friday. “Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray today [October 18] said that cinemas in the state should start with proper fire and structural safety checks,” the state government said.

In September, Thackeray had announced that cinema halls and theatres can reopen on the condition that they follow all the Covid-19 protocols.

Last week, the Maharashtra government had issued standard operating procedures for cinema halls, theatres and auditoriums. It permitted them to operate at half of the their capacity.

The show timings in cinema halls need to be in a “staggered” manner. Only packaged food and beverages will be allowed for sale, the government had said.

It also said that cinema halls in containment zones will remain closed and directed that spectators will be required to wear masks. Sanitisers should be available inside the halls, toilets and other areas.

According to the guidelines, spectators must either be vaccinated or their health status on the Aarogya Setu app must be marked safe.

On Sunday, Maharashtra recorded 1,715 new coronavirus cases, pushing the infection tally in the state to 65,91,697 since the pandemic broke out in January last year. With 29 deaths, the toll rose to 1,39,789.