The Retailers Association of India (RAI) on Tuesday said that weekend restrictions and lockdowns across several states are adding to the woes of retail businesses which have already been severely hit by the pandemic and the nationwide lockdown.
In a statement on Tuesday, RAI said that over 10 states, including Punjab, Haryana, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Nagaland, continue to impose "irrational" weekend lockdowns.
"The Indian retail industry continues to struggle to get back to its feet with constant roadblocks being faced at the state and local levels with weekend curfews and partial lockdowns, which continue to hurt retail business and dampen consumer sentiment," it said.
For retailers, over 45 per cent of the week's entire business happens over the weekends -- Saturday and Sunday, it said, adding that after facing losses for over four months due to lockdown, retailers are depending on the weekend business to help recover from the financial stress they have been facing.
"However, local authorities in some states continue to impose strict lockdowns on weekends, which are becoming a huge setback in their path to recovery," the industry body said in its statement.
Partial closures and keeping shops closed during weekends are detrimental to social distancing as customers have no choice but to throng stores during restricted hours, according to RAI.
RAI CEO Kumar Rajagopalan said: "These are knee-jerk reactions that are crippling the sector and gravely affecting the economy. We have urged the Centre and the state governments to collaboratively work towards supporting the revival of the retail industry."
"If the weekend business is lost, then the hopeful recovery from the festive season will become a distant dream," he said.