Retailers Association of India (RAI) on Friday called for a centralised framework that allows for “non-discriminatory operations” of all formats of retail amid various states imposing restrictions and weekend lockdowns in the midst of rising COVID-19 cases. Stating that shutting down of non-essential retail and malls is not the solution, the retailer’s body said instead there is an urgent need for stricter surveillance to ensure that all rules with regards to safety and hygiene and social distancing norms are followed by everyone.
“We need a centralised framework that allows for the non-discriminatory operations of all formats of retail and time-bound resolutions,” RAI Chief Executive Officer Kumar Rajagopalan said in a statement.
He further said: “Punish those who are defaulting the safety norms, take strict action. Complete shutting down of retail, other than essentials, will not solve any problem. Businesses are struggling again, while millions of jobs are at stake.”
RAI asserted that what will help ‘break the chain’ is avoiding crowding and following safety and social distancing protocols, “which the modern retail industry has been diligently following since the start of the pandemic last year”.
Retail businesses across India have been successfully following the SOPs and hence should be allowed to operate with strict surveillance, it added.
Removing roadblocks at the local level will not only help curb the spread of the virus but will also help save millions of livelihoods and help revive the economy, RAI said.
Several states such as Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Odisha and Punjab have put in various forms of restrictions, including weekend lockdown and night curfew while only allowing only essential services to run as the number of COVID-19 cases surge in India.