Shopkeepers say need more clarity on curbs
As soon as the state government announced new restrictions for 14 days in the state on Monday, residents in Bengaluru thronged various markets, shopping for groceries and other essential items in a state of panic. Long queues were reported from outside supermarkets and local markets across the state, even though the government announced that shops dealing with essential commodities will be allowed to open from 6am to 10 am on all days.
Chief minister BS Yediyurappa on Monday announced that the state will go in a “closed down” for two weeks from Tuesday night in a bid to contain the raging Covid-19 crisis in the second wave of the pandemic. The decision came following a cabinet meeting that went on for over two hours on Monday morning.
The government said that public transportation, including BMTC and Bangalore Metro services, will not function during the closed down period. Goods can be transported from one state to another and takeaway from restaurants and home delivery of alcohol have been allowed.
A shopkeeper in Bengaluru’s RT Nagar said there was no shortage of supplies to the shop. “There is still some confusion over if we can keep the shops open after 10 am. The government has said essential supplies can open between 6 am and 10 am. But it also said that home delivery is allowed. This is very confusing and there should be clarification on this,” said shopkeeper Ravi Kumar.
Rajesh Bhatt, who runs a restaurant, said only those affiliated with the delivery apps will gain. “We are allowed to have home deliveries but if people don’t come out, we lose out on business. We are now offering home deliveries. We will know how it will work in the next few days,” said Bhatt, who runs a restaurant in Babusapalaya.
While shopkeepers remain upset about the loss in business, they agreed that strict measures were required. “We are still recovering from the losses from last year. Many shopkeepers had to shut down because they couldn’t handle the debt. We face similar problems, but we can understand the situation. We hope the government will do something to help us after this,” said Peter Antony, another shopkeeper.
Meanwhile, Bengaluru police have made elaborate plans to enforce the restrictions. A senior police officer told HT that since a lockdown was in effect, more manpower is being diverted for enforcement. “We will increase patrolling and check posts across the city. We hope people will cooperate with us but if they don’t, we will take strict action. We have seized more than 2,000 vehicles during the weekend lockdown. This drive will continue,” the officer said.