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Shops may close again, as customers remain indoors

Shops may close again, as customers remain indoors

Shops, especially those selling non-essential goods, could shut again as a survey conducted by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) among traders revealed that about 88 per cent of them felt that markets should remain closed with the number of coronavirus cases surging in the national capital.

Fear of the coronavirus spread is not the only thing bothering the traders. Many complained that customers refrain from visiting shops as the scare of contracting the disease is paramount at this stage.

“People are not willing to visit shops at this time with the spike in the number of coronavirus cases. There is no point in keeping shops open as that has a cost attached to it as well,” CAIT secretary general Praveen Khandelwal told IN.

He added that the problem was compounded with the Delhi government under Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal projecting the possibility of having over 5 lakh coronavirus cases in Delhi by the end of July.

“Such a statement has dented the confidence of the customers and they are unwilling to visit the shops,” Khandelwal said, adding that it will be difficult to get footfall in the marketplaces until the coronavirus curve is flattened.

Meanwhile over 90 per cent of the traders who participated in the survey opined that medical facilities in Delhi were not equipped to handle the pandemic.

CAIT in a statement said that wholesale and retail customers from within and outside Delhi have not been visiting the national capital region despite the shops opening up.

The traders’ body also said that thousands of small and medium retailers could be thrown out of business due to the huge losses incurred by the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

CAIT said that in the 60 days of national lockdown, the Indian retail sector incurred a loss of about Rs 9 lakh crore, which could translate into a revenue loss of about Rs 1.5 lakh crore to both Central and state governments in the form of goods and services tax (GST). “Traders across the country are facing an acute financial crunch and in absence of any policy support from the government many are worried about the future of their businesses,” Khandelwal said..