Shops, markets open outside COVID-19 red zone in Gujarat

Barring six major cities and as many municipalities, shops, markets and other commercial and industrial establishments in Gujarat opened on Monday as per specific relaxations in coronavirus-induced lockdown announced by the Centre as well as the state government.

While the third phase of the national lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus spread began on Monday, the state government had on Sunday issued guidelines about lockdown relaxations in different zones – red, orange and green – marked on the basis of severity of the COVID-19 situation.

After remaining indoors for about 40 days, people in different parts of the state came out in large numbers for shopping in markets or to resume their work, bringing a semblance of normalcy outside the coronavirus hotspots.

People thronged local markets (standalone shops) in cities and towns like Jamnagar, Junagadh, Mehsana, Dwarka and Rajpipla, where they have been permitted to remain open for limited hours during the day.

Several industrial units have also resumed their operations after relaxations were announced.

On Sunday, the state government had clarified that relaxations in curbs will not apply to six cities – Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Gandhinagar, Bhavnagar and Rajkot – which account for most of the COVID-19 cases in Gujarat.

Moreover, areas falling under six municipalities – Botad, Bopal, Khambhat, Bareja, Umreth and Godhra – are also not entitled to get relaxations for having high coronavirus cases.

These six major cities and as many municipalities fall under red zone (reporting high number of COVID-19 cases).

The state government had also clarified that paan shops and liquor outlets are not covered by relaxations.

In Junagadh town, a green zone, hardware shops, garages, footwear and garment stores, which were shut since March 25, opened on Monday.

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“Shops selling essential items like milk are allowed to remain open between 8 am and 12 pm. Then, between 12 pm and 5 pm, other shops will remain open.

“However, schools, malls and paan shops have not been given any permission to resume operations yet,” said Junagadh collector Saurabh Pardhi.

Laundry shops, sweet-selling outlets, hair cutting salons and jewellery stores were also given permission to operate during the day in towns falling under orange and green zones, said officials.

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