Tamil Nadu

Confusion over norms follows easing of lockdown curbs

Shop owners opened their premises, only to be asked by police to down shutters

A day after the State government issued guidelines following a partial relaxation of lockdown restrictions for various sectors, confusion prevailed as standalone retailers in the city opened their shops, only to be asked by the police to down their shutters.

The confusion was mainly due to a misinterpretation that the relaxed norms, applicable outside containment zones, were effective from Monday, whereas the government order had stated that they will come into effect on May 6.

“Going by the government order, we went ahead and opened our stores in Chennai and across the State. However, the police arrived and said this was not allowed, and we had to shut our shops,” said L. Subhash Chandra, managing director, Sangeetha Mobiles. He also called for clarity on the norms and clear communication from the enforcing authorities.

An official at another major mobile retail chain echoed Mr. Chandra’s views. Consumers queued up at various electronics stores. “Most customers were looking to buy accessories, and we closed the shops following instructions from the police,” a shop owner said.

The story was similar in the case of home appliances and electronics stores like Vasanth and Co and Viveks.

“Since ours was a standalone shop, we opened [it]. But the officials said we need to check with the Collector. I have branches in other districts as well, and we faced similar issues there. So we will wait for further orders,” said a chief executive of an appliances shop.

“I opened the shop as the G.O. allowed [us] to do so. But I was told that since I had ACs running in my shop, I must close it. I closed it in half an hour,” said a mobile shop owner at Pondy Bazaar.

Appliance retailers also pointed to other issues which could lead to confusion. “The guidelines state that AC mechanics can be allowed to work after obtaining passes. In case of a new product, we deliver it in a day, and the brand owner sends their staff for installation. The procedure for applying for passes for these kinds of services is not clear,” an official at a top retailer said.

Most IT firms in the city have preferred to continue with the work-from-home strategy, despite the relaxations.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 3:07:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/confusion-over-norms-follows-easing-of-lockdown-curbs/article31505524.ece

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