Bengaluru, April 28, 2020: The Karnataka government issued a notification which permitted the reopening of shops in green zone districts registered under Shops and Establishments Act, including those in residential areas and market complexes, except those in multi-brand and single brand malls with 50% strength of workers wearing masks and practising social distancing.
The order was issued by chief secretary, TM Vijay Bhaskar, who is also the chairman, state executive committee, Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority. The order also permitted industries to operate in rural areas outside the limits of municipal corporations. The order also allowed the reopening of manufacturing and other industrial establishments in industrial estates and townships apart from SEZs.
The move to grant permission to all shops, including those selling non-essential items, comes close on the heels of the Union home ministry allowing the conditional operation of stand-alone retail outlets. The central order allowed the operation of neighbourhood and stand-alone shops, including those located in residential complexes, but did not include shopping malls, liquor and cigarette shops and sale of non-essential items through e-commerce platforms. The Centre, however, allowed markets in rural areas.
Karnataka’s order is applicable to Chamrajnagar, Koppal, Chikmagaluru, Raichur, Chitradurga, Ramanagara, Hassan, Shivamogga, Haveri, Yadgir, Kolar, Davangere, Udupi and Kodagu.
However, the Karnataka government made it clear that the lockdown will continue to be strictly enforced in Bengaluru Urban, Belgavi, Mysuru, Vijaypurua, Bagalkot, Kalburgi, Bidar and Dakshina Kannada districts.
In the other districts of Bellary, Mandya, Bengaluru Rural, Gadag, Tumkuru, Chikkaballapur, Uttar Kannada, and Dharwad which are orange zones, the decision regarding the opening of shops and industries in taluks where there are no active Covid-19 cases will be taken by the district-in-charge minister in question.
Even in the green zones (with no cases) where they are allowed to operate, establishments must make arrangements for workers to stay on the premises or ensure transportation to the place of work in dedicated transport and ensure social distancing while travelling.
According to a government assessment in mid-April, 170 districts in 20 states and five Union Territories (UTs) were identified as red zones (which are home to clusters of cases). Additionally, there were 207 orange zones (with fewer cases than that in red zones) in the country, and the rest of India’s 730-odd districts were classified as green zones.