The Maharashtra Cabinet on Wednesday decided to allow malls and restaurants to operate till 10 p.m. at 50% capacity with fully vaccinated staff from August 15. Shops were also allowed to operate till 10 p.m..
However, the State COVID-19 task force unanimously opposed the decision to reopen schools and colleges from August 17. The Chief Minister has now decided to take a final decision after holding a meeting with the officials of the Health Department and the task force.
After the Cabinet meeting, State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said, “Only those who have taken both doses of the vaccine will be allowed to enter malls.” Non air-conditioned gyms, yoga centres, salons and spas will also be allowed to function till 10 p.m. at 50% capacity, but air-conditioned establishments must keep windows and exhaust fans running.
Mr. Tope said weddings in open spaces will be allowed with 200 people, and events in closed halls with 100 people or at 50% capacity, whichever is less. “Theatres, multiplexes, and religious places have not been allowed to reopen,” he said.
Private offices with fully vaccinated staff have been allowed to reopen, but have to stagger work hours to avoid crowding. All playgrounds, gardens, and beaches will be allowed open as per the orders of the local civic body.
Mr. Tope said that the State now produces 1300 MT of liquid medical oxygen and 200 to 300 MT will be added to it. “The State may require 3,800 MT in case of a third wave. We have decided to implement lockdown if the requirement crosses 700 MT per day,” he said.
Principal Secretary of the Health Department Dr. Pradeep Vyas warned of the third wave and said cases could be 1.5 times more than that of the second wave.