COVID-19: Mumbai to shut offices, non-essential stores

Novel coronavirus: Mumbai closes offices, non-essential stores from March 21-31

Earlier, Indian stock markets -- National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Bombay Stock Exchanges (BSE) -- had asked their employees to work from home as a precautionary measure for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Mumbai, the nation's financial capital, moved closer to a lockdown situation amidst fears of the spread of COVID-19.

Having brought down public transport by half, Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday announced that from March 21 to 31, all workplaces will remain closed.

This order covers Mumbai, the larger Mumbai Metropolitan Region comprising major parts of neighbouring districts of Palghar,  Thane and Raigad, the satellite township of Navi Mumbai, Pune and its twin city of Pimpri-Chinchwad, as well as Nagpur.

The three cities of Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur have international airports.

Thackeray said that only 25% of the employees will be at government offices.

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"The shops of essential commodities are excluded from this closure. These include foodgrains, milk, medicines," he said. Banks will continue to function.

He appealed to the establishments and shop owners that they should not stop paying minimum wages to the hard-working staff in spite of the closures.

"The stock exchanges, clearing corporations, depositories, stockbrokers and SEBI registered participants operating through these institutions will be exempted," he said. "No non-essential service will remain open," he said.

Earlier, Indian stock markets -- the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Bombay Stock Exchanges (BSE) -- had asked employees to work from home as a precautionary measure for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

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Sources from both the exchanges confirmed to DH that work-from-home orders have been issued from Tuesday. "There would be only essential staff like trading team and information technology team that would be working from Wednesday," a highly placed official said.

According to the sources, the exchanges will have only 50% of their staff working from now on.