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SRINAGAR — Kashmir administration has been framing guidelines how to allow opening of neighbourhood and standalone shops in the Valley.

This comes after Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday night allowed opening of neighbourhood and standalone shops, including those located in residential complexes within municipal areas, but at a 50 per cent strength and after taking necessary precautions.

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However, the order signed by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, made it clear that shops in marketplaces, multi-brand and single-brand malls located in municipality areas shall continue to remain closed till May 03.

“Yes the MHA orders are directly implemented in Jammu and Kashmir. We are framing guidelines how to allow opening of shops but only in non Red Zone areas. It has been made clear that only neighbourhood and standalone shops will be allowed to operate in non Zone areas. But markets won’t be allowed to open as it can lead to a lot of crowd. Similarly, shopping malls will also remain closed,” an official said.

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The official said it will also be mandatory for everyone to wear masks. “Retailer or customer, both have to wear masks and maintain distance. Those who don’t adhere these directives have to face the action,” the official said.

Amending its April 15 order, the Union Home Ministry said “all shops, including neighbourhood shops and standalone shops, shops in residential complexes, within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, registered under the Shops and Establishment Act of the respective State and UT” will be allowed to open during the lockdown.

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The shops will mandatorily have 50 per cent strength of workers wearing of masks and following social distancing. Opening of neighbourhood shops is being seen as a relief to people who have been under lockdown since March 24 to contain the spread of novel coronavirus.

The ministry also said shops located in registered markets located outside the municipal corporations and municipalities can open after following the drill of social distancing and wearing of masks but with 50 per cent of strength.

The Home Ministry order comes on the eve of Muslim holy month Ramadan.

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