Since the night curfew has been imposed, shopkeepers wrap up by 7:30-8 pm so that they can reach their homes on time. This has been impacting business as only a few people come out to shop during the day in summers.
Delhi market associations fear that the weekend curfew will further impact business as a huge chunk of their sales depend on Saturdays and Sundays.
Market association heads have suggested alternative moves to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Ashok Randhawa, President of Sarojini Nagar Mini Market Traders’ Association, said, “There is no doubt that strict protocol should be followed at this time. However, there are other methods that can be followed, for instance, deploying civil defence volunteers to maintain social distancing, restricted entry, shops following odd-even scheme, or weekday curfews.”
“Because most people are free on Saturday and Sunday, a majority of the sales take place these days.”
He added that there are over 1 lakh stores in the city and each of them employs around 3-4 people and hence, the livelihood of lakhs of people are at stake. “Shopkeepers are scared since they have to pay rent, electricity and labour costs. Some have started leaving for their homes already.”
Markets faced huge losses in 2020 due to the lockdown. Business only got better around Diwali, following which, it saw another dip.
Traders said that things were beginning to get better in the last few months, until the Covid cases started rising again. Since the night curfew has been imposed, shopkeepers wrap up by 7:30-8 pm so that they can reach their homes on time. This too, they said, has been impacting business as only a few people come out to shop during the day in summers.
Sanjay Bhargava, President, Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal, said business is down to 25-30 percent of the usual. “The fear is everywhere. Many retailers have shut their shops. My suggestion to the government is that they impose a seven-day lockdown instead of a weekend lockdown.”
Further, market heads added that the Delhi government should offer compensatory packages for traders since they will be reeling under losses yet again.
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