Traders demand lifting of ‘ineffective’ night curfew
Shopkeepers and business owners have voiced their dissent against the state government’s decision to continue the daily night curfew from 9pm to 5am, claiming shutting down shops while keeping the traffic movement normal at night shows the ineffectiveness of the Covid-19 regulation.
Simon Anthony, a shopkeeper in Bengaluru’s Marathahalli, said police would ask to shut down his establishment at 9pm while people would continue moving around on the streets. “The traffic continues as normal till 11pm without any checks. Only shopkeepers are harassed by the police,” he said.
A member of the Bangalore Commercial Street Merchants Association said that they have been given assurances that the curbs will be relaxed since the numbers have come down, but so far nothing has happened. “This night curfew has been in place for more than 200 days now. When the government announced a lockdown to control the spread of the virus, we cooperated because it was important. But we can’t understand the purpose of the night curfew now,” said the officer bearer.
According to him, several shopkeepers are struggling to keep their businesses afloat since they incurred heavy losses during the lockdown. “If not anything, we should be allowed to stay open late to make up for the loss,” he said.
One of the worst-hit by the night curfew are pubs, bars and restaurants, for whom post 9pm is the busiest hour. A pub owner in Indira Nagar said that attempt was made to take a delegation to the government to allow pubs to operate beyond 9pm, however, they have not been able to meet ministers in charge.
“We have been following all the precautionary measures given by the government and compared to last month, people are coming out to pubs and restaurants. It is surprising that the government is hoping to get revenue from liquor sales but won’t let us operate,” said the pub owner, who didn’t wish to be named.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka government said that the night curfew in the city will continue, however, a review meeting will be conducted soon. Higher Education and IT BT Minister CN Ashwath Narayan said that the government was monitoring the situation closely. “Since there is fear of an increase in the cases in October, we want to wait,” he said.
Urban Development Minister Byrathi Basavaraj, however, said that the matter of night curfew will be discussed during the monsoon session and a decision will be taken soon.
On Monday, Karnataka reported only 673 new Covid cases and 13 deaths, out of which 214 cases and three deaths were reported in Bengaluru city. The total active cases in the state and Bengaluru now stand at 16,241 and 7,211 respectively.