Delhi: Traders fear closure of shops, business establishments amid rise in number of Covid cases

The business fraternity of the national capital is in a state of panic as it urged the Delhi government on Monday to consider two other indicators as well — the number of fresh coronavirus cases and that of the oxygen beds occupied — before announcing a “yellow” alert.

If a "yellow" alert is sounded, then cinema halls, theatres, banquet halls, gymnasiums, spas and entertainment parks will remain closed and markets will function on an odd-even basis.

With the COVID-19 positivity rate going beyond 0.5 per cent in Delhi on Sunday and a steady rise in the number of Omicron cases, the traders of the city are worried as they fear that their establishments may be shut under a “yellow” alert, if announced by the government in the coming days.The business fraternity of the national capital is in a state of panic as it urged the Delhi government on Monday to consider two other indicators as well — the number of fresh coronavirus cases and that of the oxygen beds occupied — before announcing a “yellow” alert.

Under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) prepared by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) in July, a “yellow” (level-1) alert will be sounded if when the Covid positivity rate crosses 0.5 per cent for two consecutive days or the number of fresh cases goes up to 1,500 for seven days or the oxygenated bed occupancy reaches 500 for seven days.

Brijesh Goyal, the chairman of the Chamber of Trade and Industries (CTI), an umbrella body of traders from different industries, said if the positivity rate goes beyond 0.5 per cent on Monday too, then the GRAP is likely to kick in, under which many restrictions will be imposed in Delhi’s markets and business establishments.”Many activities and businesses will stop as soon as the yellow alert is issued. We have written a letter to the DDMA and requested it that the GRAP yellow alert should be applicable only when 1,500 coronavirus cases are reported in Delhi.

“We have also requested the DDMA to consider the condition of traders before imposing any restrictions under the GRAP,” Goyal told PTI.He said according to medical experts, though the number of Covid cases is increasing in the city, it is in a controlled condition currently.”Delhi has not recorded 1,500 Covid cases for seven consecutive days and neither the average occupancy of beds is 500. In such a situation, the restrictions under the first phase of the GRAP should not be imposed,” Goyal said.

If a “yellow” alert is sounded, then cinema halls, theatres, banquet halls, gymnasiums, spas and entertainment parks will remain closed and markets will function on an odd-even basis.A night curfew, closure of schools and colleges, halved seating capacity in metro trains and buses, closure of non-essential shops and shopping malls are also among the measures that will kick in with a “yellow” alert.Delhi reported 290 fresh COVID-19 cases on Sunday with a positivity rate of 0.55 per cent.

The DDMA has already announced that a night curfew will be imposed in Delhi from 11 pm on Monday, restricting the movement of individuals except those falling in the exempted categories due to a rising number of coronavirus cases and the threat posed by the Omicron variant of the virus.

The night curfew will be in place from 11 pm to 5 am till further orders.The Delhi Gym Association has also written to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal regarding the impending “yellow” alert and the subsequent closure of gymnasiums and spas.There are around 5,500 gymnasiums and fitness centres across the national capital.

Delhi Gym Association vice-president Chirag Sethi said gymnasiums will be closed first whereas parks, restaurants and bars will function with a 50-per cent occupancy under a “yellow” alert.He added that as the COVID-19 positivity rate has reached 0.55 per cent in Delhi, gym owners are in a state of panic.”

The industry has already suffered a lot over the last few months. This decision will impact it badly and the entire industry might just collapse. We request the DDMA not to take into account only the positivity rate but also the total number of cases and the need for oxygen beds in Delhi,” Sethi said.Similar concerns were echoed by the representatives of various market associations in the city.Kamla Nagar Market Association president Nitin Gupta said instead of shutting shops, the authorities should focus more on crowd management and enforcement of Covid-appropriate behaviour.

He said the huge crowds seen at markets are mostly due to the “illegal” roadside vendors, who hardly follow the Covid norms.”The business is already down and the markets have incurred losses due to the pandemic. Somehow the traders are surviving. The authorities should consider their situation before imposing any restrictions,” Gupta said. 

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, Check out latest IPO News, Best Performing IPOs, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express Telegram Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.