Mumbai Unlock 3: Retailers seeks permission to keep shops open on all days

  • | Thursday | 30th July, 2020

The Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government, a coalition of the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress, is gradually relaxing lockdown restrictions, which were imposed since end-March to contain the spread of the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, in phases as part of the Maharashtra’s Mission Begin Again campaign that was unveiled on May 31, from next week.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government, a coalition of the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress, is gradually relaxing lockdown restrictions, which were imposed since end-March to contain the spread of the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, in phases as part of the Maharashtra’s Mission Begin Again campaign that was unveiled on May 31, from next week.

The campaign seeks to open up commercial activities in a bid to revive economic activities that have been battered by the pandemic.

However, Mumbai-based retailers have written to CM Thackeray, urging him to let all shops in the city open after lockdown 3:0 ends on Friday (July 31).

Shops in Mumbai, the epicentre of Covid-19 in the state and the country as well, have been allowed to open on alternative days.

Salons and hotels, too, are operating under strict protocols, including maintaining social distancing norms to keep the contagion at bay.

Viren Shah, president, Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA), said the current arrangement is economically unviable for retailers.

“Shops are allowed to open for only around 12 days a month. This doesn’t help our cause, as we can’t even pay our monthly rents or salaries to staff due to restricted economic activities,” Shah said.

However, in a recent interview to Saamana, the Shiv Sena mouthpiece, the CM had made it clear that the lockdown wouldn’t be abruptly lifted in a bid to guard against a second wave of viral infection in Maharashtra, a trend that has been reported from other countries that have been in the grip of the pandemic.

He explained that a gradual easing of lockdown restrictions is the only way forward to flatten the viral curve.

On Wednesday, the state extended the lockdown until August 31, albeit with a few more relaxations.

Markets and shopping malls have been allowed to re-open from August 5, but movie halls, theatres, food courts, restaurants and gymnasiums are still off-limits. Eateries, operating out of shopping malls, have been allowed to operate as takeaway services.

The spike in Covid-19 cases in the densely-congested Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and other cities such as Pune have derailed the state government’s plan to allow more transport facilities and additional workforce in offices.

State government officials said that the easing of lockdown restrictions have also taken into account the upcoming religious festivals such as Bakr Eid, or Eid-al-Adha, on Saturday (August 1) and the 11-day Ganeshotsav that starts from August 22.

On Wednesday, Maharashtra reported 9,211 new Covid-19 cases, as it breached the unenviable 400,000 mark.

At present, the state has 1,46,129 active cases and the recovery rate is at 59.84%.



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