Delhi: 50 can gather for a wedding, 20 for a funeral

Strict restrictions had been in place in the national capital as part of the measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.
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Updated on May 04, 2020 03:58 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent, New Delhi

Maximum 50 people would be allowed at wedding functions and not more than 20 people could attend a funeral, as per a latest order which lists the relaxations prescribed by the Centre for the ‘red zone’ in the national capital during the ongoing national lockdown.

“Not more than 50 people are allowed at wedding functions and not more than 20 at last rites of a deceased person,” said Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal during a video conference.

Strict restrictions had been in place in the national capital as part of the measures to contain the spread of Covid-19. The latest order has come in as the Centre announced the extension of the national lockdown till May 17. Earlier, the lockdown had been announced till May 3.

Besides gatherings standalone shops in neighbourhoods and those selling essential commodities in shopping complexes will continue to remain open in the national capital from Monday, the Delhi government order said on Sunday. However, malls and market complexes will remain closed, the order clarified.

The Delhi government in an earlier order, issued on April 15, had allowed standalone shops in neighbourhoods to reopen but ensure that social distancing is followed. Traders on Sunday said that even though there was no change in the new order regarding the opening of shops, there is still no clarity on the definition of “standalone shops” and what items are allowed to be sold during this extended lockdown.

They also said that not many such shops, except for grocery stores, reopened April 15.

Praveen Khandelwal, general secretary, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), while welcoming the government’s order, said that to implement this well, the authorities must define what constitutes neighbourhood shops and standalone shops and what are the items that these shops can sell.

“There has been a lot of confusion since the initial order was issued on April 15 and not many owners have opened shop since. It also needs to be clarified whether curfew passes are required for the opening of such shops, as people might face harassment from enforcing authorities. There should be clear and exhaustive guidelines regarding the rules for such shops to open so that traders feel confident to resume their businesses,” Khandelwal said.

Brijesh Goyal, the convener of the Chamber of Trade and Industry, said that the traders are in support of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s recommendation of allowing shops to open on “odd-even” days.

“Just like the CM suggested, we are of the opinion that slowly shops should be allowed to reopen. Shops could be allowed to open on alternative days, or for some time in the day, but there should be some leniency now. Traders are facing huge losses,” Goyal said.

The trader associations in popular markets in Delhi said that the lockdown is hitting business, but they support the government’s decision to not allow market places to reopen yet.

“We had decided that even if the government allows markets to reopen, we will keep our shops closed. Sarojini Nagar is known for the crowd it attracts, and if shops are reopened, it will be difficult to control the crowd. It will be a health hazard for the shoppers as well as shop owners and workers,” Ashok Randhawa, president of Sarojini Nagar Mini Market Traders’ Association, said.

However, not everyone was happy with the extension of this lockdown on their businesses. Suhail Sawhney, a cloth trader in west Delhi’s Rajouri Garden, said that he has already incurred losses worth lakhs of rupees because his shops have remained closed.

“We do understand that it is a difficult time but we need to have some window where we can do business. How will we pay our staff and how will we sustain our businesses if we remain closed for over a month like this?” Sawhney said.

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