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Coronavirus in India: Which shops can now open as lockdown eased?

India's government has announced an easing of the Covid-19 lockdown in place in the country, allowing some shops selling non-essential goods to reopen.

A security guard stands in front of closed shops at a market during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in New Delhi on April 20, 2020. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP)

The Indian government has eased the lockdown measures in place in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic, allowing a limited reopening of shops providing non-essential goods and services in both urban and rural areas.

This loosening of restrictions does not cover any stores located in Covid-19 hotspots or containment zones, the country’s Ministry of Home Affairs said on Friday in its announcement of the move.

Which shops are now allowed to open in India?

Urban areas:

  • In towns and cities, says the Ministry of Home Affairs, "neighbourhood shops and standalone shops, shops in residential complexes” can now open for business.
  • However, this does not include shops in large market places and in single or multi-brand malls. They must remain closed until at least 3 May.

Rural areas:

  • In rural areas, all shops except those in malls will be permitted to open.

Other restrictions

  • Shops must operate with a staff body reduced by 50%, observe social-distancing measures, and wear face masks and gloves.
  • The sale of alcohol remains prohibited.
  • Sale by e-commerce is allowed for essential items only.
  • Businesses such as restaurants, bars, hair salons, cinemas, theatres and gyms must stay closed.

Nearly 25,000 coronavirus cases in India

At the time of writing, there had been 24,530 registered coronavirus cases in India, leading to 780 deaths. In a bid to curb the spread of the virus, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi imposed an initial two-week lockdown on the country’s population of 1.3 billion on 24 March, before extending that order until 3 May.

See also:

Live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic

You can stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis by following our daily live blog. We also have a dedicated rolling feed for India here.


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