THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The city corporation’s decision to allow only 50 per cent of shops to function and only on selective days has added to the woes of the traders at Chalai market. Traders say that they are already running at a loss and the decision might lead to losing out on more number of customers in the coming days.With a spurt in Covid-19 cases in the city over the past few days without any evidence of infection sources, more restrictions have been imposed. In a meeting convened by Mayor K Sreekumar a few days ago with the merchants, a decision was taken to open only 50 per cent of shops selling fish on a given day in markets.
A token system for selling fish has also been introduced. Besides this, shops selling fruits and vegetables in Chalai and Palayam markets areallowed to open on Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Meat shops and provision stores were allowed to open on alternate days.According to Rafeeq A P, president of Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samiti of Chalai main unit, restrictions are being imposed on the market without considering their opinions. He said:
“There are around 550 shops in the market and bazaar but shops in the latter have not been permitted to open.” Rafeeq added that the traders are in a helpless situation. “With this alternate day system in place, there is a lack of clarity among the public as well,” he said.“We were already facing stiff competition from big jewellery showrooms. The lockdown has added to it. We had discussed our problems with the Mayor and decided to open shops on alternate days. However, when I opened my shop, I was told by the authorities concerned to close it down,” said Ayyappan who owns Ayyappan Ayyappa Jewellery at Chalai.
Meanwhile, to ensure that all shops are complying with the social distancing norms, health squads have been deployed in all 20 health circles in the city. Only those wearing masks are allowed to enter the shops.
“Regulations are being enforced to prevent the spread of the pandemic. Strict inspections will be conducted since more customers visit the markets. We have conducted awareness campaigns in markets to ensure traders comply with the safety protocols. However, strict action will be taken against the offenders,” said I P Binu, chairman of health standing committee, city corporation.