Shops in Vile Parle (East) market
MUMBAI: On Saturday, Day Two of ‘Mission Begin Again’, more customers started emerging to make purchases. Shops operated the odd-even scheme in an improved, systematic manner. Traders have sought permission from the state to operate normal business hours till 8.00-9.00pm rather than close at 5.00pm as they do at present.
Viren Shah, president of the Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA), wrote to tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray with a request to change the current timings. “All shopkeepers have started requesting that the present hours of 9.00am to 5.00pm be changed to 11.00am to 8.00pm so that more business can be achieved. This will yield more taxes to the government and businessmen will be able to pay salaries to their staff. Even customers can make purchases in an easy manner.” He pointed out that G North ward has relaxed timings till 8.00pm.
In Worli Koliwada, which has witnessed a high number of Covid cases, several shoppers streamed into the streets until police cracked the whip and enforced social distancing.
Mulund retailers received permission to open shops a day late – they were forced to remain closed Friday. On Saturday, also, business was lacklustre as few customers came, said MLA Mihir Kotecha. “Three to four hours were spent in cleaning the shops and setting things in order. Shopkeepers took precautions like wearing masks and gloves, and kept sanitisers at the doorstep, still few customers ventured out,” said Ramesh Jain, owner of a jewellery store on JN Road. Here too, traders clamoured for permission to work normal hours until late evening instead of having to close at 5.00pm.
At Hiranandani Meadows, Thane, a clothing boutique was the only additional store that opened since Friday, but no buyers were visible. In general, though, there were many more people on the roads as compared to Day 1.
Overall in Thane, traders were unable to observe social distancing norms to the fullest. The wholesale market in Jambhli Naka opened on one side, but certain businessmen opposite the road also tried to operate at half-shutter.
An average of 40% shops in Navi Mumbai and Panvel functioned from 9.00am to 5.00pm. Most are facing a manpower crunch. “There was an average footfall of 15-20%,” said Raman Gupta who sells home appliances in Kopar Khairan