Mumbai: Retail and standalone shopkeepers in Mumbai have urged the Maharashtra government and BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation to allow them to reopen in the city during the lockdown 3.0.
These shopkeepers, under the aegis of Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association, have strongly argued that the BMC should reconsider its decision on closure of non-essential shops citing rise in COVID19 cases in Mumbai. There are more than 15 lakh retail shops in Maharashtra of which a large number of them are in Mumbai.
“We have requested the Maharashtra government and BMC to allow in Mumbai sale of non-essential products including household, kitchenware, shaving accessories, toys, games, new-born babies’ products and other materials in standalone stores in all neighbourhood.
The functioning of these shops will be done by adhering to COVID-19 norms including social distancing and avoid congregation of more than five people at a time,’’ said Viren Shah, President of the Federation. He further noted that the shopkeepers never asked for any relaxation but strictly observed lockdown orders.
He made a strong case for reopening of the non-essential shops as the products sold by them are in great demand. ‘’The reopening of shops will start economy rolling and also benefit shop keepers who are facing severe financial crisis due to closure,’’ he opined.
Shah said because of over 40 days lockdown most of the non-essential products have become essential there is need for garments, kitchenware, new-born baby products, toys, and indoor games. ‘’These products have become essential now during lockdown after groceries.
BMC Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi in his order released on May 5 had said, “Mumbai city has been categorised in Red Zone by the Government of India and restrictions are imposed in view of that. It has been observed that the number of positive cases in the city have been rising and the downward trend is yet to set in.
Gathering of crowds in large numbers without following social distancing will be detrimental to the control of spread of virus and the advantages of the lockdown will be lost due to gathering of people in large number.’’ He therefore said relaxation will have to be withdrawn otherwise the situation in Mumbai will deteriorate further