THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Traders in the city have demanded that authorities bring relaxation in restrictions and allow them to operate for extended hours in the wake of the upcoming Onam festival. They claim that extended hours would help control crowding and improve business. Currently, the permitted time of operation is from 7am to 7pm.Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi (KSVVES), Thiruvananthapuram district general secretary Manoj S S said the traders are struggling to make both ends meet because of the pandemic. He added that the current time restriction is only leading to crowing at shops. However, the district administration has denied the request of traders.
“We cannot allow any more relaxations for traders. The existing rules will continue. In Kannur, the caseload is less compared to Thiruvananthapuram and shops there are allowed to remain open only till 6pm,” said a senior official of the district administration. One of the other demands raised by the KVVES is to allow restaurants and hotels to resume dine-in operations. “The authorities should at least allow small and medium restaurants to operate during the Onam season from 5am to 11pm. If not, eateries will witness huge crowds in the evening between 5pm and 7pm,” said Manoj.
According to the authorities, extending the hours would be an additional burden on the police and hence not feasible. “Thiruvananthapuram tops the list in Kerala in terms of the number of cases and we cannot give anymore relaxation. Also, the state is going to hit the pandemic peak. Relaxations will only worsen the situation,” the official added.
Public announcement at Chalai Market
In an effort to regulate crowding at Chalai Market, the KSVVES has introduced mike announcements on Covid-19 guidelines to spread awareness among customers. The initiative was launched on Monday by the samithi with the assistance of police authorities. “The announcement will be operated by Aryasala Unit under KVVES. The unit covers around 2.5 kilometres and over 500 shops. The announcements will run throughout the day,” said Manoj. Loudspeakers have been set up at 30 spots for the same.