The Maharashtra government on Friday, issued new COVID-19-related restrictions for theatres, private offices, and auditoriums. The announcement was made in the wake of rising coronavirus cases in the state. The fresh guidelines will be applicable until March 31.
As per the Maharashtra government directive, all theatres and auditoriums will be permitted to operate at 50% capacity and people will not be allowed to enter without wearing proper facemasks. Similarly, private offices can also function with 50% staff.
Meanwhile, health and essential services are excluded from these directives. "All private offices except related to health and other essential services to function at 50% capacity in line with the order dated March 15," Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte said in the latest order.
Maharashtra is India's worst-hit state in the coronavirus pandemic. The state continues to register the highest daily numbers, besides a drop in daily caseload in other parts of the country.
According to the Union Health Ministry's latest data, Maharashtra registered 25,833 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours till Thursday night, which is 65% of all cases reported in the country. This is also the highest number since the outbreak of the pandemic last year.
Guidelines for private offices
The Maharashtra government order states that all private offices, except pertaining to health and other essential services, can operate at 50% capacity
Guidelines for government/semi-government offices
As regards the government or semi-government offices, the head of the office will decide with respect to staff attendance, besides ensuring compliance with all coronavirus-related protocols.
Guidelines for auditoriums/theatres
In addition to the 50% capacity directive, the Maharashtra government order prohibits the use of auditoriums and theatres for any cultural, political, religious, and social assemblies. The order says the auditoriums and theatres can hold events if:
" They don't permit any person without a mask
" Maintain 50% capacity
" Arrange for sufficient hand sanitisers at several convenient locations
" Check the temperature of everyone entering the hall for fever
"Concerned establishments [will have] to ensure the presence of enough manpower to enforce wearing of masks as well as maintaining social distances by all visitors all the times," the order said.
"In case of violation of this order, concerned drama theaters/auditoriums shall have to remain closed for a period until the Covid-19 pandemic stays notified as a disaster by the central government. A violation shall also attract penalties under the Disaster Act for the owner of premises," it added.
Guidelines for manufacturing sector
The state government has allowed the manufacturing sector to operate at full capacity.
"However, it is advised that the workforce be reduced to ensure adequate social distancing on the production floor. For the purpose of maintaining social distancing, manufacturing units may be allowed to increase the working shifts as approved by the local authorities," the order said.