Ministry of Home Affairs has extended the coronavirus lockdown till May 31 and issued guidelines in this regard. With the new guidelines in effect, e-commerce players like Flipkart, Amazon, Myntra are expected to resume operations outside containment zones. This will also include some parts that fall under red zones, which so far have been only receiving essential deliveries from online retailers.
In its latest guidelines, Ministry of Home Affairs has said that all activities will be permitted, except those specifically prohibited. E-commerce activities have not been specifically prohibited in the guidelines, giving them the freedom to restart deliveries. However, only essential goods and services have been allowed in containment zones.
E-commerce companies had restarted deliveries of non-essential items in orange and green zones, but were only delivering essentials in red zones. With the new guidelines, this restriction will only apply to containment zones in red and orange zones.
Centre has allowed district authorities to identify containment and buffer zones. States and union territories have been allowed to prohibit certain activities in various zones or impose restrictions as deemed necessary, based on the assessment of their situation. This means it is left to the states to announce guidelines for sale of non-essential items by e-trailers.
"Barring Tamil Nadu and Sikkim, who have adopted a hard stance against e-tail, most other states are in favour of opening because they see this as the only way to satisfy consumer demand without opening up the malls and markets," says a spokesperson representing a large e-tailer.
Most states are likely to start announcing guidelines on May 18.