In view of the rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in Vadodara and an increased testing rate, the city traders’ association has called upon various sub-associations to offer their opinions on the possibility of reducing opening hours of shops and establishments from 8 am to 4 pm.
The body, which has seen over 25 members testing positive and two deaths, is expected to take a decision by Wednesday to avoid a gathering during evening hours. Meanwhile, the Vadodara administration has announced a three-day drive to conduct a door-to-door health survey of the entire city, starting Wednesday, as part of its “proactive strategy” to contain further spread of the virus.
On Tuesday, the All Vadodara Trade Development Association issued a circular to its members, seeking their response to the suggestion that shops and establishments operate only between 8 am and 4 pm, in view of the rising Covid-19 cases in the city. The circular states, “The virus has spread around and hit the trader community the worst, where many of our members have tested positive and some have also died. For the safety of our families, we have to reconsider our decision of keeping our establishments open until late evening hours as permitted by the government during the unlockdown. It has been proposed that the shops must open from 8 am to 4 pm to avoid crowding.” The circular further asks members to submit their responses via WhatsApp so that a decision may be reached with consensus.
The number of cases in Vadodara has gone up from 2,087 on June 26, when Vadodara saw its overall tally double at a rate of 25 days, to 2,781 on Tuesday. This is in line with the proportional increase in testing, which on Tuesday touched an all-time high of 426 samples.
According to Paresh Parikh, convenor of the traders’ association, the reason behind self-imposing a partial lockdown are the two deaths of senior members of the community. “Since the opening of the lockdown on July 1, families venture out in the evenings. There is no sense of social distancing and some don’t even wear masks. So, it would be better if markets remain closed in the evenings,” Parikh said.
The association is also seeking opinions from other trader bodies on the issue. “Close to 25 member traders have tested positive for Covid-19 and we have lost two senior founder members in the last 15 days. One of them was from the furniture traders association. We will decide the operation timings by tomorrow,” Parikh said.
On the other hand, as part of its “Proactive Covid-19 Management Strategies”, the Vadodara Municipal Corporation has announced a campaign of door-to-door health surveillance from Wednesday.
Officer on Special Duty Vinod Rao said, “Our 590 teams consisting of 1,201 Auxiliary Nurse Midwifes (ANMs), Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA), anganwadi workers and other staff, will do house-to-house screening with help of thermal guns, pulse oxymeters and other equipments and medicines. The entire city will be covered by Saturday. Based on the findings of this surveillance, we will increase the number of dhanwantari raths (a campaign for the screening of high-risk persons) from July 15.”
Meanwhile, the general board of the VMC will meet online on June 9 and 10 for the first time in history.
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