The PCMC has also allowed non-essential industries to operate with 50 per cent capacity. However, industries have criticised the PCMC move barring workers from using PMPML buses.
Despite the Covid-19 positivity rate sticking above 5 per cent, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation Saturday announced more relaxations, allowing all essential and non-essential shops to operate till 7 pm and restaurants and bars to remain open till 10 pm.
The PCMC has also allowed non-essential industries to operate with 50 per cent capacity. However, industries have criticised the PCMC move barring workers from using Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) buses.
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The revised directives were issued by Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Patil. The PCMC administration, however, said it will keep a close watch on the positivity rate.
The PCMC chief’s directives said the weekend lockdown on Saturdays and Sundays will continue. “All shops will remain open till 7 pm. On Saturdays and Sundays, the weekend lockdown will continue with only essentials shops allowed to remain open. Restaurants and bars will remain open with 50 per cent capacity till 10 pm,” the directives said. The order will be implemented starting Monday.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Vikas Dhakane said, “The positivity rate is on the border, meaning it is 5.01 per cent. The orders will come into effect from Monday. By that time, we expect the positivity rate to come down below 5 per cent.”
PCMC officials said the decision to relax restrictions was taken amid pressure from shopkeepers and hoteliers who were facing heavy losses. “Shopkeepers and hoteliers, who run their places on rent, were incurring heavy losses due to the partial closure. They were desperately pleading with us to relax the restrictions on humanitarian grounds,” said Dhakane.
Dhakane, however, said the civic administration will keep a close watch on the positivity rate. “If the positivity rate goes beyond 7 or 10 per cent, we will immediately bring in tighter restrictions. We will be keeping a close watch in view of a possible of third wave,” he said.
The PCMC chief’s directives have allowed non-essential industries to operate with 50 per cent capacity besides essential industries, export oriented and continuous process industries. However, the decision to make it compulsory for non-essential industries to ensure commuting of workers by office vehicles rather than by PMPML buses has drawn flak. “Not every small-scale industry can afford to make special arrangement for vehicles. This decision is unacceptable,” said Sandeep Belsare, president of Pimpri Chinchwad Small Scale Industries Association.
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