Faced with losses, Delhi traders seek further easing in Covid curbs

Expressing concern about the impact of continued Covid restrictions on local businesses, traders in the nation’s capital are calling for further easing of restrictions, including allowing stores to stay open until 9:30 p.m.

Trader associations in various markets have said they are facing mounting losses due to the restrictions. They also questioned the logic behind continued restrictions when the pandemic situation improved in Delhi.

The New Delhi Traders Association (NDTA), which represents the Connaught Place market in central Delhi, has written to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal asking for help from local traders.

”We have received numerous representations from shopkeepers/shopkeepers for them to be allowed to open shops until 9.30pm instead of 8pm. Closing stores at 8:00 p.m. means starting the closing procedure at 7:00 p.m., losing the privileged moment of activity,” NDTA said in its letter to LG.

“Given the hundreds of performances on the captioned topic received from merchants, we kindly ask that you extend store hours to 9:30 p.m.,” he said.

These views have been echoed by other professional associations in Delhi.

Sanjeev Mehra, chairman of the Khan Market Trade Association, said it must be traders’ choice whether to keep stores open or not.

“As everything has been normalized, the timing (of store closures) should also be normalized. It must be the choice of store owners whether they want to keep stores open or not. We want the restrictions to go away,” he said.

“We are saying that strict guidelines such as wearing masks should also be relaxed in one way or another,” he added.

Sarojini Nagar Traders Association President Ashok Randhawa has expressed frustration over the increasing losses for traders.

”We have been saying for a long time that we must extend the deadlines. We have suffered losses because of these rules. The time (for closing) of stores is 8 p.m. (pm) and we have to start the closing process at 7 p.m.,” Randhawa said.

”Offices have also opened. People usually go there in the evening to shop. It’s wedding season. So it makes no sense to impose restrictions on stores,’ he added. The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), at its February 4 meeting, had extended the imposition of the night curfew in the nation’s capital but reduced its duration by one hour – from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. in the morning. Due to the night curfew, shops selling non-essential items are only allowed to open until 8 p.m.

The DDMA had also authorized the reopening of schools for grades 9 to 12 from February 7 and for students from kindergarten to class 8 from February 14.

In addition, he had enabled all government and private offices to operate at 100% capacity. Gyms have also been allowed to reopen with certain restrictions.

However, several restrictions like allowing only one weekly market in a municipal area, no standing passengers on buses and subways and a 50% cap on the number of seats in restaurants, bars and cinemas remain, even whether there has been a marked drop in COVID -19 cases in Delhi.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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