Lockdown: Central Government issues more clarification, know which shops will remain closed, which will be opened?

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New Delhi, April 25, 2020: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued a clarification regarding the order to open shops. The Home Ministry release stated “All shops are allowed to open in rural areas except shopping mall shops. In urban areas, all single shops, neighbourhood shops, residential complexes are allowed to open.”

Only essential items will be delivered
It is not allowed to open shops in markets and shopping malls. The Ministry of Home Affairs has made it clear that e-commerce companies can only deliver essential things. There is a complete ban on the sale of alcohol and other things.

The Ministry of Home Affairs said, “Shops will not be allowed to open in those areas, whether in rural or urban areas, which have been declared as containment zone by the State / UT.”

On the other hand, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Punya Salila Srivastava said in a statement, the shops that are selling goods can open but those providing services such as salons, beauty treatments, spas are not allowed to open. According to the new order of the Ministry of Home Affairs, it is also not allowed to open any kind of restaurant.

CAIT appeals to traders – wait for state government order
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), the largest organization of small traders, has made a significant appeal to traders when the Ministry of Home Affairs has allowed to open shops with conditions in places other than hotspots and containment zones. CAIT has asked the traders to take any action only after waiting for the orders of the state governments. CAIT’s National General Secretary Pravin Khandelwal said that the Home Ministry has ordered to open shops. But now we have to wait for the decision of the state governments. As per the orders from the state governments, the traders of the respective states should decide to open the shops accordingly.

Statement from Retailers Association of India
Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India, said, “The Retailers Association of India (RAI) supports the government’s efforts to open up the retail sector vide its note dated 24th of April, 2020.  We feel the current circular is open to interpretation and needs more clarity for easier implementation – terms like market complexes are not easily understood. We at RAI are willing to work with the Government to make this process of opening retail easier without compromising on social distancing normsKeeping 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. Malls in the country should also be allowed to open as they are professionally run and would be able to control the environment for safety and social distancing.”