The Ministry of Home Affairs vide its latest Order dated 24.04.2020 has permitted the shops selling non essential goods and services to open from 25.04.2020.

As per the Order undersigned by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, all shops registered under the Shops and Establishments Act of various States and Union Territories have been allowed to start their services with a workforce of 50% and have also been mandatorily instructed to follow the necessary social distancing guidelines.

Shops in residential and market complexes have also been directed to be opened. The said order is not applicable for shops in single or multi-brand malls outside the limits municipal jurisdiction.

The concession will however, not be applicable for shops situated at hotspot areas and Red zones and these areas would have to thereby abide by full lockdown rules. Furthermore, decision regarding the application of the said order will be taken by State Governments subject to the steps taken and orders passed considering the situation prevailing in their respective states.

The present Order was passed in continuation of Order No.40-3/2020-DM-I(A) dated 15.04.2020. In accordance with the power conferred upon the Ministry of Home Affairs under Section 10(2) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the term ‘shopping complexes’ present in Sub Clause 1(x) has been replaced by ‘market complexes within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities’.

Hon’ble Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi had announced on 25.03.2020 a nationwide lockdown due to the catastrophic outbreak of COVID-19 until 14.04.2020 which was further extended till 03.05.2020. The present Order has most definitely come out as a sigh of relief for the public at large.