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Omicron scare: Maha imposes Section 144 at night, curbs on large gatherings and more


In light of the Omicron threat, and with Christmas festivities, weddings, and New Year's parties likely to increase the risk of contamination, the Maharashtra government decided to impose restrictions under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in the entire state. Over the past two days, Maharashtra has recorded more than 1,000 COVID-19 patients daily.

Omicron scare: Maha imposes Section 144 at night, curbs on large gatherings and more
The Maharashtra government has imposed nighttime curbs across the state in view of the increasing number of cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The government has declared that Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code, which prohibits public gatherings of five or more persons, will be enforced from 9pm to 6am.
The new order, dated December 24, 2021, and signed by Chief Secretary Debashish Chakraborty, comes into effect at midnight.
The order specifies other restrictions to be imposed -- restaurants, gyms, spas, cinemas, theatres will continue to follow the 50% seating rule, with the added rider that they must now declare their full capacity and 50% in a manner that can be easily seen.

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The number of attendees in a closed hall for a wedding ceremony should not exceed 100 at any given time, while this number has been capped at 250 or 25% of the venue capacity--whichever is lower--in open spaces. There is an identical cap on the number of attendees at social, political, and religious events.
For all other events, not more than 50% of the seating capacity is to be allowed in confined spaces, while in venues without fixed seating, there is a 25% limit on attendance. For sports events, not more than 25% of the venue's capacity will be allowed.

The order also empowers the District Disaster Management Authority concerned to separately determine the number of attendees at any of the aforementioned events or gatherings under the Disaster Management Order dated November 27, 2021. 
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has said restrictions will need to be imposed in light of the high rate of spread of the new variant, and said more restrictions may be imposed depending on the situation in the future. Thackeray also urged members of the public to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour, such as wearing masks, sanitising and social distancing, to limit the spread of Omicron.
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