Prepare your shopping carts as e-commerce platforms are looking to resume full operations post-April 20. Yes, that’s correct. The government of India on Wednesday released a new set of guidelines amidst lockdown extension due to coronavirus disease (COVID 19). In the new guidelines, e-commerce companies will be allowed to deliver non-essential items in non-containment areas.
As of now, e-commerce players are only allowed to deliver essentials such as groceries, medical supply, and food items. All major e-commerce sites including Amazon, Flipkart, and Paytm Mall will start accepting orders for non-essentials from April 20.
The press statement issued by Ministery of Home Affairs, Govt. of India states, “Digital economy is critical to the services sector and is important for national growth. Accordingly, e-commerce operations, operations of IT and IT-enabled services, data and call centres for Government activities, and online teaching and distance learning are all permitted activities now.”
The new guidelines confirm that vehicles involved in carrying out e-commerce operations will be allowed to move during the lockdown.
“Vehicles used by e-commerce operators will be allowed to ply with necessary permissions,” the new guidelines read.
Though, the given relaxations are conditional and will not be applicable for areas that are marked as coronavirus containment hotspots.
“All facilities in the supply chains of essential goods, whether involved in manufacturing, wholesale or retail of such goods through local stores, large brick and mortar stores or e-commerce companies should be allowed to operate,” the MHA guidelines states.
In its guidelines, the MHA has clearly instructed that only two drivers and one helper will be allowed per plying vehicle. The govt. of India also exempted courier and delivery service providers like eKart, Delhivery, Bluedart etc. with one rider. Employers have to ensure strict hygiene standards and that social distancing is maintained by delivery executives.