Small shops, trades to be allowed from Sunday in Gujarat (Ld)

Gandhinagar, April 25 (IANS) Following the Ministry of Home Affairs’s (MHA) notification issued on Friday night, to allow the opening of shops, the Gujarat government on Saturday declared that all the individual shops, neighbourhood shops and other small commercial activities outside containment zones will be permitted from Sunday.

Shops like stationery, provision stores, mobile recharging, mobile repairs, electrical goods, appliances repair, motor mechanic, etc will be allowed.

In order to normalise lives of the citizens after a month’s lockdown, the Gujarat government on Saturday announced that all standalone shops, individual shops, small shops in rural areas, as well as urban areas, outside the cluster containment zones, will be allowed to open and operate from Sunday.

“Gujarat Chief Minister, Vijay Rupani has taken this decision so as to normalise the regular lives of the citizens which had been affected due to the month long lockdown. So from tomorrow all individual shops, small shops, neighborhood shops will be allowed to open, provided they follow the guidelines regarding covid-19 pandemic,” said Ashwini Kumar, the secretary to the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) on Saturday.

“For this, the shop owners need not approach any authority or apply for any sort of permission. However, they will be required to have their valid licences regarding their trade and shops. Besides that, the IT related activities and IT businesses have also been extended this relaxation. All these activities should be outside the containment zones marked for covid-19,” added Kumar.

To avail this permission, the shopkeepers will have to follow all the guidelines regarding the covid-19 pandemic, like their shops should be outside the containment zones and they shall have to follow social distancing, wear masks and facilitate sanitation and they will have to reduce their staff to 50 per cent.

This relaxation does not include shops of footwear, Pan masala, Ice cream parlours or Cold Drink parlours.

“For such kind of shops, we will be deciding on that, by today’s evening and inform. Right now this decision applies only to small shops but for shopping malls, shopping centres, commercial centres, the decision will be taken later,” added Kumar.

“Similarly, another decision taken by the government is for all the cooperative societies in the state. The societies whose five year terms were going to end this month, the terms of all the societies have been extended for another 3 months,” added Kumar.

The Union Home Ministry late on Friday had issued a notification, where permissions to open small shops and trades in the country had been granted from Saturday. However, the notification had barred relaxation for big malls and shopping centres, where social distancing could be maintained.

Earlier in the day, talking to reporters the Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat, Nitin Patel had said, “The central government’s notification issued last night has allowed for small shops in the state to be opened in rural areas. Even in the municipal corporation as well as municipalities, small shops and commercial activities can be opened while maintaining a distance, which shall be decided by the local authorities. This is a good decision as small trades and commercial activities were hugely affected since more than a month of nationwide lockdown.”

Saturday is a 32nd day of the nationwide lockdown following the covid-19 pandemic.