The government of Uttar Pradesh has come up with a list of economic activities that will be permitted in the state from April 20, following Maharashtra and Rajasthan which had just days earlier issued similar notifications following the central government’s order on April 15.
According to the guidelines issued to all the divisional commissioners on April 16, the government of Uttar Pradesh has allowed e-commerce firms to fully function and deliver all goods in the state beginning April 20 but with strict social distancing instructions.
The notice also includes operations of railways for transportation of goods and parcels, operations at airports, land ports for cargo movement, and movement of truck and commercial vehicles for pick-up and delivery of goods.
Besides, all kirana stores and shops selling food and groceries, hygiene items, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, poultry, and animal feed and fodder are also allowed to operate without any restriction on their timings of opening and closing by ensuring strict social distancing measures.
While the state has allowed the movement of all the goods and services, the delivery of essential goods will be prioritised such that the people don’t need to come out of their houses as it would help in containing the pandemic.
The notice also mentioned that the activities would be operational in the whole state except in the demarcated containment zones – hotspots or red zones – where the spread of the infection is high.
Additionally, if the number of positive COVID-19 cases in any particular area increases and it gets declared as a hotspot zone, all the economic activities would be suspended in that area immediately.
Besides e-commerce and online delivery of essential plus non-essential items, UP has also allowed several industries, workshops, corporates, IT firms, banks and hospitals to continue their operations under prescribed norms, similar to the central government order issued earlier. IT firms with 50% of the workforce working are allowed to operate from April 20.
All these steps taken by the states and the central government are seen as a gradual reopening of businesses in the country as it prepares to come out of a lockdown that was earlier extended till May 3.
On April 13, Odisha too had issued orders relaxing its norms to allow home delivery of all goods through e-commerce or online platforms and it had done so even before the central government had issued its order on April 15.
The announcement by the states also eases the last-mile doorstep delivery issues during the ongoing lockdown.
As of now, UP has 805 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases including 74 recoveries and 13 deaths. The state had also recently sealed hotspots areas in 15 of its districts including Lucknow, Agra, Ghaziabad, and Meerut among others for 3 days from April 12 to April 15.