Mumbai

Shops open shutters amid confusion

Shops on the one side of the road open at Bhuleshwar in south Mumbai on Monday.

Shops on the one side of the road open at Bhuleshwar in south Mumbai on Monday.   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

Alternate day formula stumps some

The State government’s Mission Begin Again to relax lockdown restrictions step by step saw many private offices resuming work with 10% staff on Monday, and a larger number of shops reopening.

Bandra Kurla Complex, Lower Parel, Dadar, Colaba and Kurla reported a steady increase in traffic flow due to the office crowd using personal vehicles, autorickshaws, taxis and public transport. Ankit Mehta, a resident, tweeted that “for Mumbai, it was like first day of freedom, to go [to] office or anywhere [else]. It was full of traffic.”

The markets of Bhuleshwar, Zaveri Bazaar and around Crawford Market in south Mumbai, Natraj Market in Malad, and markets in Andheri and Borivali, were all open, despite confusion over the norms of opening stores only on one side of the road.

COVID-19 precautions

“Around 3.5 lakh shops in Mumbai and 15 lakh shops all over Maharashtra were open on Monday after duly sanitising the premises over the weekend,” said Viren Shah, president of the Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA).

Shop open in Natraj Market at Malad (West), one of the biggest markets in the western suburbs, on Monday.

Shop open in Natraj Market at Malad (West), one of the biggest markets in the western suburbs, on Monday.   | Photo Credit: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

FRTWA members had on June 5 corresponded and held a telephonic discussion with Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, and met minister Aaditya Thackeray and Chief sSecretary Ajoy Mehta to resolve issues pertaining to opening of non-essential shops.

Retailers said customers came in only for purchase of day-to-day necessities like crockery, toys, hardware, electrical fittings, kitchenware, rain wear, items for newborn babies, and house repair articles, besides groceries.

Travel troubles

Mr. Shah said many staff members couldn’t turn up on day one because of issues with public transport. Shops opened in a confused manner — many opened on both sides of the road, and the police and Brihanamumbai Municipal Corporation had to send their personnel to ensure the alternate days formula was followed.

He demanded that guidelines for shops be revised to extend business hours. “They said full day, but timing given was 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on representation by Dadar traders where the Dadar West G North ward office gave them permission to function till 8 p.m. We would like to operate between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. as it will help business grow,” he said.

Mantralaya and other government offices reported a 15% staff turnout. Temples, mosques, churches and other places of worship remained shut across the State, along with malls and multiplexes. Restaurants around office complexes were open for takeaways, though most people preferred to carry their own food.

Housekeeping staff sanitise the premises of Viviana Mall in Thane, where only essential shops like Big Bazaar and DMart were open on Monday.

Housekeeping staff sanitise the premises of Viviana Mall in Thane, where only essential shops like Big Bazaar and DMart were open on Monday.   | Photo Credit: VibhavBirwatkar

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Printable version | Jul 4, 2020 12:27:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/shops-open-shutters-amid-confusion/article31782871.ece

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