The new COVID-19 guidelines issued by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Saturday has raised many concerns for retail, hotels and restaurant owners in the city. The new guidelines impose a fine of Rs 10,000 on organizations/establishments if customers don’t wear masks as a COVID-19 precaution.
According to the new guidelines issued in the wake of new variant Omicron, if the individuals are seen violating the protocols in shops and establishment premises which supposed to impose CAB (Covid-19 Appropriate Behaviour), the individuals will be fined Rs 500 and the organization will be fined Rs 10,000 by the BMC.
While speaking to The Free Press Journal, Viren Shah, President of Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA), the leading organisation representing small and big retail traders, said, “Taking COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory so they cannot ask or force customers to take the vaccine and then enter the store. The penalty of Rs 10,000 is too harsh. Expecting Rs 10,000 fines from small shopkeepers is not practical, considering that the pandemic has impacted their business severely.”
"We are not against vaccinations. We will put up signboards regarding the COVID protocols, but it is not possible to monitor everyone constantly,” added Shah.
Opposing the new guidelines, Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR), Vice President, Satish Shetty, said, “We don’t allow any guest to enter without a mask, but to keep checking constantly if they are wearing a mask or not is completely impractical. Moreover, the penalty of Rs 10,000 is too high and this can increase corruption as people will start bribing those who come to collect the penalty.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the new strain of the novel coronavirus, B.1.1.529, - Omicron, as a “variant of concern”.
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