Maharashtra is likely to reopen in a phased manner, with a new set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place. Gyms, restaurants, and shopping malls are expected to be some of the first ones to open their doors in this staggered revival. Here’s what we know about it. By Bayar Jain
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Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope held a press conference to hint the staggered re-opening of the state, as per a story by Lokmat. Part of Mission Begin Again, the state health department is reportedly formulating guidelines for this staggered revival. A report by The Times of India suggests that Tope hinted at the possible reopening of gyms and shopping malls. Reportedly, swimming pools could also be reopening soon— the details of which are yet to be finalised and approved by the state Chief Minister, Uddhav Thackeray. The same report also states that religious, public, and other political gatherings will continue to be barred as they aren’t considered a necessity.
As a part of this phased reopening, the Uddhav Thackeray-led coalition government is mulling over the SOP for restaurants as well, states The Indian Express. Buffet services will reportedly be avoided for the time being, with salads and other raw foods being discouraged temporarily. Contactless menus such as QR coded variations or disposable ones, halved seating capacity, distancing between tables, use of disposable tissues (not reusable napkins), and use of digital payments are reportedly some of the SOPs that could be set in motion. Notably, the report also states that bars are likely to remain shut in this phase of reopening.
Maharashtra has been in lockdown since March 22. Despite most of the country reopening, the state earlier extended its date of relaxations to July 31 due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. As of July 24, the number of recovered patients in Maharashtra stands at 1,87,769 as per the official figure.