RAI says more clarity needed on reopening of shops

The retail industry body said keeping in mind the current environment and lessons learnt by opening up of essential retail through the lockout, "we would recommend that the government open up all channels of retail on a date that it feels safe with the social distancing norms clearly defined" while also asking for malls to be allowed to open.

The government on Friday night allowed opening of neighbourhood and standalone shops, including those located in residential complexes within municipal areas, but at a 50 per cent strength and after taking necessary precautions.

However, the order, signed by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, made it clear that shops in market places, multi-brand and single-brand malls located in municipality areas shall continue to remain closed till May 3. "We feel the current circular is open to interpretation and needs more clarity for easier implementation - terms like market complexes are not easily understood," RAI said in a statement.

While extending support to the government's efforts to open up the retail sector, the industry body further said, "We at RAI are willing to work with the government to make this process of opening retail easier without compromising on social distancing norms." RAI also reiterated its demand to open up all channels of retail to help both consumers and businesses during the lockdown.

"Keeping in mind the current environment and lessons learnt by opening up of essential retail through the lockout, we would recommend that the government open up all channels of retail on a date that it feels safe with the social distancing norms clearly defined. Local authorities can ensure strict implementation and action," it said.

Malls should also be allowed to open as they are professionally run and would be able to control the environment for safety and social distancing, RAI said.

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