Last updated 29 April 2021
Over a year into the pandemic, the coronavirus is still raging in Maharashtra, amidst an acute shortage of vaccines and medical supplies. After careful deliberations and state-wide calls for urgent action, the government has imposed a lockdown till May 15.
Here’s everything you need to know about this lockdown: what’s open, what’s not, and who’s exempted.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government has imposed COVID-related restrictions in the state in a phased manner from mid-April, under the ‘break the chain’ initiative.
A strict lockdown has been enforced, barring only the essential, emergency, and COVID vaccine and testing-related services that have been given certain relaxations. The lockdown, earlier imposed from April 23 to May 1, has now been extended upto May 15.
What is open?
Considering the essentiality of their services to residents, the government has permitted only the following vendors to operate between 7 AM and 11 AM every day:
- Grocery shops
- Dairies and milk booths
- Meat and fish shops
- Bakeries, confectioneries, and all shops selling food items
- Data Centers/ Cloud Service Providers/ IT services supporting critica infrastructure and services.
- Government and Private Security Services
- Pet shops
- Petrol pumps
Home delivery from restaurants and grocers as well as medical stores will be open till 8 PM.
Weddings will be limited to 25 attendees and must be concluded within 2 hours at most. Incidental ceremonies like haldi, sangeet, and receptions are not permitted.
Hospitals, diagnostic centres, vaccination clinics, and all those involved in the production, transport and supply of vaccines can continue to function.
What is closed to visitors/attendees?
The government has strictly closed the doors of all:
- Shopping malls and hypermarkets (except essential shops in such malls)
- Entertainment venues, auditoriums, and theatres
- Gyms, stadiums, and sports grounds
- Religious places
- Public places such as beaches, gardens, swimming pools, amusement parks, and water parks
- Alcohol shops
- Dine-in at restaurants, cafes and eateries
- Grooming services such as beauty parlours and saloons
- All other shops and stores
- Schools, colleges, coaching institutes
Social, political, cultural and religious gatherings are not allowed.
Are offices open?
Gathering of people at offices and workplaces has been held down:
- Government offices can operate only with a 15% workforce.
- All offices engaged in providing essential services should work at the lowest required capacity, not exceeding 50%.
- Only in case of emergency services directly connected to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic and personnel actually delivering the essential services on the ground, can these caps be lifted or pushed back.
Will transport facilities be available?
The government has also put curbs on travel to and from the state, effective from 8 PM on 22 April to 7 AM on 15 May:
- Travel will not be allowed for any reason, except for essential services, medical reasons or vaccination.
- Inter-state, inter-district and inter-city movement will be permitted only in special cases like funerals or medical emergencies.
- Those who travel for any of these reasons will have to undergo home quarantine for 14 days after arrival.
Local train travel has been suspended. Taxis, cabs, and rickshaws will be allowed only for essential purposes.
Students requiring to physically attend an exam are allowed to travel to the examination centre/ back home after 8 PM or on weekends by carrying a valid hall ticket.
Industrial Workers travelling by private buses/ or private vehicle are allowed to travel on the basis of an identity card from 8 PM to 7 AM and during weekends.
Travellers arriving or departing by train, bus, flight during 8PM to 7 AM or on weekends can travel to their respective stations or back home carrying a valid ticket.
Private buses can function only at 50% seating capacity. Other private vehicles will be allowed to run only for urgent or emergency services, that too at a maximum 50% seating capacity.
State and local government-owned public buses have no such restrictions as to the purpose of travel, but even they will be subject to the 50% cap on seating capacity. Standing passengers will not be allowed.
Can you travel to/from Maharashtra during the lockdown?
Only for emergencies, essential services, medical reasons or vaccination.
Inter, as well as intra-state passengers, will be hand-stamped and have to compulsorily home quarantine for 14 days. If found exhibiting symptoms during the thermal screening, they will be shifted to a corona care centre or hospital.
Will Maharashtra lockdown be extended?
The decision to extend the lockdown by another 15 days from the earlier proposed date of May 1 was finalised at the State Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. After reviewing the effect of the current restrictions on the case count, the lockdown may or may not be extended.
Despite severe curbs being implemented, Maharashtra is not seeing the expected (and hoped-for) decline in daily cases. The daily caseload continues to graph above the 65,000 mark with around 600 deaths every day.
What is the Maharashtra e-Pass and who needs it?
The Maharashtra e-Pass has been reintroduced for those who need to travel inter-district or inter-state for emergency reasons. They need to carry a soft/ hard copy of the pass while traveling to show it to the police when asked.
For interstate and inter-district emergency travel, you can apply for an E-Pass at https://t.co/jR6ROcBcPU
You can also walk in to your nearest Police Station for assistance.
We urge all citizens to apply for an E-Pass only in the case of extreme emergencies.#EPassForTravel
— Maharashtra Police (@DGPMaharashtra) April 23, 2021
The authority of approval or rejection of these passes lies solely with the respective District Superintendent of Police Office and Zonal Deputy Commissioner Office in cities. Permissible reasons for travel include:
- Essential services
- Public services provided by a local authority
- Death of a first relative
- Extreme medical emergency
Eligible residents can apply for their e-Pass here. Enter details like name and contact information, dates and destination of travel, number of passengers, the reason for travel, etc. You’ll have to upload your photo, a relevant document (Essential Service Letter/ Valid Organization Document/ Medical Report/ Company ID etc.), and a negative RT PCR/ Rapid Antigen test report not older than 72 hours. After applying, you can check whether your pass has been approved or not here, using your e-Pass Token ID.
Those who don’t have access to the internet can head to their local police station for help in filling the form for e-Pass.