Shops selling essential commodities in Delhi and Mumbai will be allowed to remain open for 24 hours, the local governments announced on Thursday.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that these shops will remain open for the entire week, amid a 21-day nationwide lockdown due to coronavirus. He added that shop owners will not require any additional license or permit to operate.
Shops selling essential items, including groceries, vegetables and medicines have been allowed to stay open during the three-week lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday. However, there was panic and confusion among people following the lockdown announcement, and long queues were seen outside grocery stores.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray also announced that shops selling groceries, medicines and other essential goods can stay open for 24 hours. In tweets, the Chief Minister’s Office warned that shopkeepers have to take care of the well-being of the customers by enforcing social distancing and other norms prescribed by the government.
The Chief Minister’s Office said the move was intended to ensure that there is no “confusion and crowding” outside shops.
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At a press conference on Thursday, Kejriwal said that he held a meeting with Delhi police officers and directed them to allow online delivery of essential services. He also said that the assistant commissioners of police have been asked to ensure that grocery stores remain open. Kejriwal added that the factories producing essential items and the warehouses where the commodities are stored, will remain open.
Kejriwal added the delivery executives will be required to show identity cards to the police. “Those delivering food will be allowed, these executives just have to show their identity cards to the police,” he said.
The chief minister clarified that the mohalla clinics will remain open even though a doctor at one such clinic tested positive for coronavirus. Nearly 800 patients of the doctor were directed to go into quarantine. “There are reports that mohalla clinics will be shut because a doctor tested positive for coronavirus,” Kejriwal said. “People must not believe these rumours,” he said.
Meanwhile, Noida’s Gautam Budh Nagar administration has also said that home-delivery services, including those delivering food, medicines and groceries, and the hawkers selling fruits and vegetables, will be allowed to operate without any pass amid the ongoing lockdown, PTI reported.
Issuing the order, District Magistrate BN Singh said the staff of these firms can use their company identification card to carry out door-to-door deliveries. “They will have to show their ID cards to the police authorities and also ensure that those will not be misused, otherwise legal action will be taken,” he added.
No identity card will be required for street hawkers selling groceries on carts, Singh added. “However, they must ensure that no more than two people are present at their carts at any given time in order to maintain social distancing and prevent the coronavirus from spreading.”
The Union health ministry has confirmed 35 coronavirus cases in the Capital. Out of these, six people have recovered, and one person has died. However, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Thursday said that 36 people had Covid-19.
There are 649 cases of coronavirua in India and 13 people have died, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.