Businesses hamstrung by lockdown norms

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Panaji: Although shops and establishments have been permitted to remain open in the state, several owners of commercial establishments on Tuesday said that they are finding it difficult to function due to the lockdown norms. 

According to proprietors of commercial establishments, complying with the lockdown guidelines is proving to be a hurdle to scaling up operations.

Speaking to ‘The Navhind Times’, some proprietors said that adopting  social distancing in the face of space constraints is a headache,  adding that maintaining hygiene through constant use of sanitisers and disinfectants at workplaces is also adding to the problem.

Proprietor of Magsons chain of supermarkets Kirit Maganlal pointed out that the retail industry cannot survive with social distancing and expect business to continue as usual.

Indians love to shop in crowds and the fallout of shopping in a lesser crowd is being felt sorely by retailers in the state, he reckoned, adding that “the average basket size of the shopper is coming down by at least 50 per cent due to social distancing”.

However, owners of automobile dealers said that they have been able to maintain social distancing because of the low level of business.

“We are not forcing our employees to join duty because there are no customers to attend,” a four-wheeler automobile dealer said. 

On the other hand, a retail apparel store owner pointed out that with limited space it is difficult for staff to keep distance from each other even if fewer employees come to work. 

“There is only that much of space behind the counter. Salespersons have no option than to stand next to each other,” he said, adding that his establishment has a small pantry space and despite of the staggered timings, employees sit next to each other. 

The store owner said that all employees have been asked to wear a face mask and disinfect themselves with sanitisers to keep infection at bay. 

Several office establishments are willing to scale up from May 3. The government is also eager to enhance the level of economic activities in the state even as it wishes for the lockdown to continue to prevent the outbreak of coronavirus. 

Owners of smaller establishments said that balancing the lockdown norms and business has been tough. Post-April 25 a few automobile dealers have opened shop along with stores selling garments, shoes, etc. 

They said that they would have to revamp operations to work in the lockdown times and incur additional expenditure of housekeeping to comply with the lockdown guidelines set by the government.