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The government of Telangana has banned all food delivery services like Zomato and Swiggy in the state. Besides this, the state government has also extended a lockdown up to May 7 in parts of the state.
The development comes after a delivery executive, who is associated with cloud kitchen Box8, had tested positive for COVID-19 in Delhi. With this, the Delhi government was forced to place almost 69 families under quarantine. Besides this, the local authorities also placed Savitri Nagar area in Delhi’s Malviya Nagar under quarantine.
Meanwhile, another delivery executive, along with his family of five, also tested positive for COVID-19. The state government is now focussing on contact tracing the people the delivery executive and the family came in contact with. the driver was associated with Swiggy and has been off-duty since March 21.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao also said that the government was not happy about issuing the shutdown order for Zomato and Swiggy given the loss of revenue from taxes, but public health is a higher priority.
As per the central government’s guidelines, food delivery was an essential service. However, the state has been trying to find ways to make the lockdown more stringent to effectively prevent the spread of community spread of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, several other states have been working towards making the lockdown more relaxed in terms of products and services available for the people. Last week, the central government allowed ecommerce players to resume their operations completely. However, MHA maintained that state authorities will give the final approvals on which areas can be serviced at the moment to ensure compliance with rules of social distancing.
With this, Maharashtra, Odisha and Tamil Nadu allowed the ecommerce platforms to deliver non-essential and essential goods in the states. Whereas Karnataka, Telangana and Haryana have been considering to do so in the coming weeks.
However, MHA retracted its order on April 19, just a day before the order was set to come into force. For now, ecommerce companies will continue to offer delivery of only essential items — groceries, food and items of daily needs.
The ministry of home affairs (MHA) scrapped the order, on April 19, after local retailers and traders started protesting against it. The local traders believed that allowing ecommerce to resume their operations was unfair, while brick-and-mortar stores like theirs were only allowed to resume their operations from May 3 after the lockdown was lifted.
The home ministry spokesperson also clarified that the list of items ecommerce players were being allowed to deliver turned out to be too extensive. The ministry believed that by allowing this, the COVID-19 lockdown is being compromised, therefore it decided to scrap the permission.