THE STATE government has decided to allow resumption of inter-district train travel with immediate effect. According to new guidelines issued on Wednesday, as part of Mission Begin Again, restaurants, bars and food courts will also be allowed to resume services from October 5.
The guidelines state, “Trains originating and ending their journey in Maharashtra will be allowed with immediate effect as per guidelines from Centre and state.” In late August, the state government had allowed resumption of inter-district travel by buses operated by Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation.
The state has also allowed dine-in services to restart at restaurants, bars, and food courts from October 5, with maximum 50 per cent occupancy. The tourism department will issue a separate statement of procedure in this regard. The restaurant industry, which has suffered extensive losses during the pandemic, had repeatedly petitioned the chief minister to allow them to reopen.
The state has also allowed resumption of local trains in the Pune region; normal operations of Mumbai’s suburban train system, however, has still not been allowed. Only essential service providers will be allowed to access suburban trains. The new circular, however, states that the railways will be asked to increase the frequency of local trains in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. Dabbawalas have also been permitted to travel in local trains after procuring QR codes from the Mumbai Police Commissioner’s office.
The state has also permitted civic commissioners and district collectors to “enforce certain measures and necessary restrictions in affected areas on permitted non-essential activities and movement of persons with prior written approval of the chief secretary”.
Cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres and multiplexes, auditoriums, and assembly halls will continue to remain closed. Amid complaints of oxygen shortage for Covid-19 patients, the state has said there shall be free movement of vehicles carrying oxygen without any restriction of time. Social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, and religious congregations will remain suspended.
Schools, Metro and international air travel will also remain suspended till October 31. Also, large public gatherings and congregations will remain barred for the time being.
Wary of a further flare-up in cases, the state’s new guidelines, signed by Chief Secretary (in-charge) Sitaram Kunte on Wednesday evening, stated that schools, colleges and educational coaching institutions will continue to remain shut till October 31.
In an SOP for hotels, bars and restaurants, the state government on Wednesday extended the deadline for paying the annual fee for the FL-III licence till the end of December. This is a licence needed to serve imported and Indian-made foreign liquor at hotels, bars and restaurants.
*Restaurants, bars and cafés at 50% capacity
*Local trains in Pune
*Dabbawallas on Mumbai local trains
*Metro, suburban train services for non-essential use
*Large congregations, public, social gatherings
* Schools and colleges