BJP demands easing of COVID-19 restrictions in Pune; cites fall in positivity rate
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BJP demands easing of COVID-19 restrictions in Pune; cites fall in positivity rate

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly Devendra Fadnavis, on Saturday, urged the state government to ease COVID-19 restrictions in Pune as business and commerce is being severely affected in the city. 

Despite the Maharashtra government modifying its ‘Break the Chain’ guidelines on August 2, Pune continues to face Level 3 restrictions. Presently all non-essential shops, restaurants, gyms, and salons in the city can remain open only till 4 pm on weekdays. Essential shops have been permitted to function till 4 pm on all days. The city’s traders and business owners have been strongly demanding the state government extend the closing time to 8 pm. 

Meanwhile, Pune Mayor Murlidhar Mohol has accused the Maharashtra Vikas Aghad (MVA) government of favouring Mumbai over his city. It should be mentioned that the BJP enjoys a majority in the Pune Municipal Corporation and Shiv Sena is in control of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation governing state capital Mumbai.

Addressing the media on Saturday, Fadnavis backed demands for relaxations for Pune saying that the city has consistently recorded a “positivity rate of below 5%.” 

Former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis remarked, “There should be strict restrictions in the city where the infection positivity rate is above 5 percent. But for the last one month, Pune’s positivity rate is below 5 percent. The state government should relax restrictions. Businesses are already suffering losses.” 

Maharashtra’s new COVID-19 guidelines

On August 7, Maharashtra recorded a total of 6,061 novel coronavirus cases taking the state’s COVID-19 tally to 6,347,820. At present, there are 71,050 active cases in Maharashtra. With 9,356 COVID-19 patients discharged in the day, the number of recoveries reached 6,139,493. The COVID-19 recovery rate and fatality rate in Maharashtra stood at 96.72 % and 2.1% respectively.

As per present guidelines, existing restrictions shall continue in 11 districts, including Pune. However, the disaster management authorities in Mumbai, Mumbai Suburban District and Thane were allowed to take a decision on tweaking the guidelines.

Here are the guidelines for all other districts: 

  • All shops and malls can remain open till 8 pm on weekdays and till 3 pm on Saturday
  • Only essential shops will remain open on Sunday
  • Public gardens and playgrounds can be kept open for exercise, walking, and jogging
  • All government and private offices can be operational with full capacity
  • Work from home should be encouraged
  • Gyms, yoga centres, spas, beauty parlours and hair cutting salons can remain open till 8 pm on weekdays and till 3 pm on Saturday
  • All cinema halls, drama theatres and multiplexes to remain closed
  • All places of worship to remain closed
  • All restaurants can remain open till 4 pm on weekdays with a 50% seating capacity
  • There will be restrictions on the movement of people from 9 pm to 5 am
  • Restrictions on birthday celebrations, political and cultural events, election campaigning and protest matches will continue