The PCMC relaxes the Covid-19 borders, authorizes all businesses until 7 p.m., restaurants and bars until 10 p.m.
Despite the Covid-19 positivity rate exceeding 5%, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation on Saturday announced more flexibility, allowing all essential and non-essential stores to operate until 7 p.m. and restaurants and bars in stay open until 10 p.m.
The PCMC also allowed non-essential industries to operate at 50 percent capacity. However, industries criticized the PCMC’s decision to ban workers from using the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMMPL) buses.
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The revised guidelines were issued by City Commissioner Rajesh Patil. The administration of the PCMC, however, said it would closely monitor the positivity rate.
Directives from the PCMC chief said the weekend lockdown on Saturdays and Sundays would continue. “All stores will remain open until 7 pm. On Saturdays and Sundays, the weekend lockdown will continue and only essential stores will be able to remain open. Restaurants and bars will remain open at 50% of their capacity until 10 p.m., ”the guidelines said. The order will be executed from Monday.
Additional City Commissioner Vikas Dhakane said: “The positivity rate is at the border, which means it’s 5.01%. Orders will take effect from Monday. At that point, we expect the positivity rate to drop below 5%. “
PCMC officials said the decision to ease restrictions came under pressure from traders and hoteliers who were suffering heavy losses. “The traders and hoteliers, who manage their rental premises, suffered heavy losses due to the partial closure. They were desperately begging us to relax the restrictions on humanitarian grounds, ”Dhakane said.
Dhakane, however, said the city administration would closely monitor the positivity rate. “If the positivity rate exceeds 7 or 10%, we will immediately impose stricter restrictions. We will be watching closely for a possible third wave, ”he said.
Guidance from the head of the PCMC allowed non-essential industries to operate at 50% capacity in addition to essential, export-oriented and continuous processing industries. However, the decision to make it mandatory for non-essential industries to provide movement of workers by office vehicles rather than PMPML buses has drawn criticism. “Not all small industries can afford to make special arrangements for vehicles. This decision is unacceptable, ”said Sandeep Belsare, president of the Pimpri Chinchwad Small Scale Industries Association.