With new restrictions imposed in the state, the service sector has warned that the guidelines will leave them devastated and could lead to job losses. The hospitality, restaurant and retail industries have demanded a roll-back of the guidelines, fearing it would irreversably damage the industry.
On Sunday, Maharashtra government issued new guidelines under ‘Break the Chain’ to curb the surge in daily Covid-19 cases. Under new guidelines, from Monday, shops selling essential items will be allowed to remain open. People’s movements have been restricted only essential activities are allowed between 8pm to 7am everyday. The guidelines will be in force till April 30.
Retailers Association of India (RAI) CEO Kumar Rajagopalan said, “The retail industry will again start experiencing severe liquidity challenges due to ‘retail lockdown’ in the state, while the fixed operating costs remained intact. It is expected the retailers pay electricity bills, property taxes, among others in spite of being shut.” He added, “The new order will have a contagion effect on the state’s and the nation’s entire retail ecosystem and will majorly impact manufacturing and employment of millions.”The association also pointed there is a sense of discrimination prevailing, as online retail for non-essentials goods are being permitted to operate, while physical retail is not. Rajgopalan said the state should allow non-essential shops to remain open with strict Covid-19 protocols.
Viren Shah, who owns Roopam, a clothing store, said, “We were shut for about eight months last year. Now, when we started recovering, we are being told to shut again. The retail industry gives employment to about 10 lakh people and with no income, we have to cut our staff size or salary”. The hospitality industry has said travel restrictions and shutting down will adversely impact the establishments. “With new local restrictions in place, travel in the state is going to be adversely impacted and will affect the hospitality industry, which is heavily dented due to the pandemic, “said K B Kachru, Vice President of Hotel Association of India. Liquor shops owners are still hopeful the government could reconsider its guidelines and will allow them to run their shops in a controlled manner with all protocols. “This decision will impact the liquor industry as well as government revenue. We will approach the excise department, “said Arvind Miskin, President of Association of Prgressive Retail Liquor Vendors.