MHA issues clarification after its order for opening shops triggers confusion amid coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown

MHA issues clarification after its order for opening shops triggers confusion amid coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown

A day after issuing orders which allowed reopening of shops selling non-essential goods for trade, the Ministry of Home Affairs on Saturday (April 25, 2020) in a clarification said that all shops except inside the shopping malls in rural areas and all standalone shops in urban areas are allowed to open.

The clarification from the Home Ministry further stated that e-commerce websites will continue to be allowed to sell only essential items and the sale of liquor items is still prohibited.

Here's the clarification issued by the Home Ministry:

Ministry of Home Affairs Press Release Clarification on MHA order allowing the opening of shops

Ministry of Home Affairs issued an Order No. 40-312020•DM•1(A) Dated 24th April, 2020 on amendments in the consolidated revised guidelines on lockdown measures to allow the opening of shops.

2. This Order implies that:

a. In rural areas, all shops, except those in shopping malls are allowed to open.

b. In urban areas, all standalone shops, neighbourhood shops in residential complexes are allowed to open. Shops in markets/ market complexes and shopping malls are not allowed to open.

3. It is clarified that sale by E-commerce companies will continue to be permitted for essential goods only.

4. It is further clarified that the sale of liquor and other items continues to be prohibited as specified in the National Directives for COV1D•19 management.

NOTE: As specified in the consolidated revised guidelines, these shops will not be permitted to open In areas, whether rural or urban, which are declared as containment zones by respective States/ UTs.

The previous order from the MHA order on the opening of shops has led to widespread confusion and several states said that they will implement it only after proper consultations.

Meanwhile, in Maharashtra, the president of the Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA) Viren Shah said, "All Shops in Maharashtra of non-essential products will remain close till the order of Maharashtra government.

In Gujarat, reacting to the MHA order, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said that a decision will be taken only after meeting CM Vijay Rupani.

The West Bengal government is yet to announce any relaxation as of now since the capital city of Kolkata has reported a sharp spike in COVID-19 cases recently, with almost 51% cases coming from Kolkata there are more than 150 containment zones. The state might announce during CM Banerjee's press conference at 4 pm on Saturday regarding the state’s decision on the matter, till then there will be no relaxation.