The Maharashtra government on Tuesday announced that shops can remain open till 11 pm and restaurants till midnight in the state with immediate effect. Earlier, shops and restaurants were permitted to function till 10 pm.

This came a day after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray directed officials to prepare guidelines for extending the operational hours for restaurants and shops.

In its order on Tuesday, the government said both the staff members of the establishments and the visitors will need to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus disease. It added that people have to adhere to Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.

The order said the district disaster management authorities can curtail the timings if needed. But, they cannot extend the timings without permission from state level authorities.

The government said that the decision to extend the timings was taken because of the upcoming festival season as restrictions can led to crowding at restaurants and shops.

On Monday, the Maharashtra government had also allowed amusement parks, except water rides, to reopen from Friday.

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

In September, Thackeray had announced that cinema halls and theatres can also reopen from Friday 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.