FAQ: MHA Allows More Shops to Function – What All Is Open Now?

Here’s all you need to know about the new home ministry order.

2 min read
Here’s all you need to know about the new home ministry order.

In a midnight order, the government allowed the opening of neighbourhood and standalone shops – including those located in residential complexes. This move is likely to bring relief to people who have been under nationwide lockdown since 24 March to contain the spread of novel coronavirus.

Does this mean non-essential shops across India are open? What about hotspots and containment zones? Here’s all you need to know about the home ministry order.

Which shops are actually allowed to open?

The Ministry of Home Affairs has said that there is a distinction between shops allowed to open in rural and urban areas.

In rural areas all shops – essentials and otherwise – except those in shopping malls, are allowed to open.

However, urban areas only standalone shops, neighbourhood shops and shops within residential complexes are allowed to open. These shops can be dealing in both essential and non-essential goods.

Amending its 15 April order, the MHA said: “All shops, including neighbourhood shops and standalone shops, shops in residential complexes, within limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, registered under the the Shops and Establishment Act of the respective states will be allowed to open during the lockdown.”

What about services like barber and tailor shops?

Although there was no clarity initially, Home Ministry later said that the new order does not apply to shops that deal with services.

“Hair salons and barber shops render services. Our order is applicable on shops which deal in sale of items. There is no order to open barber shops or hair salons,” said Joint Secretary (Home Affairs) Punya Salila Srivastava. Restaurants too will remain closed during the lockdown period.

What about the local markets in urban areas? Are shops allowed to be open there?

Shopping markets, market complexes and shopping malls will remain closed, until further orders on or before 3 May. However, shops of essential commodities are allowed to remain open in local markets.


What rules should these shops follow in order to remain open?

The ministry also said shops located in registered markets, outside municipal corporations and municipalities can open after following the drill of social distancing and wearing of masks. They can function with only 50 percent strength.

Does this mean I can order non-essentials from e-commerce?

The MHA order states that sale by e-commerce is permitted only for essential items.

What about liquor shops?

Sale of liquor continues to be prohibited until further order, the MHA statement said.

I live in a hotspot. Are shops allowed to open in hotspots/containment zones?

The amended order allowing all shops to open does not apply to hotspots or containment zones. The shops in these areas will remain closed until 3 May, as of now.

(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

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