Connaught Place, Khan Market, Defence Colony, South Extension, Sarojini Nagar, Central Market and several other prominent markets across the national capital will remain closed on Sunday, in line with the Prime Minister’s call for a ‘Janata Curfew’ due to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, shops selling essential commodities like medicines and groceries will remain open.
On Thursday, PM Narendra Modi appealed to people across the country to follow ‘Janata Curfew’ on March 22 from 7 am to 9 pm and stay at home.
At some markets, shops will be closed on Saturday as well. Old Delhi markets such as Chandni Chowk and Khari Baoli are closed for three days, while wholesale cloth markets in Chandni Chowk are shut until Tuesday.
South Extension Part 2 and Sarojini Nagar will remain shut from Saturday till Monday. All weekly markets, meanwhile, are shut till March 31.
Sudhir Ahuja, general secretary of South Extension Part 2, said that when the market reopens on Tuesday, shops will only remain open from 12 pm to 6.30 pm. The market earlier remained open from 10 am to 9.30 pm.
Atul Bhargava, president of the New Delhi Traders’ Association, said Palika Bazar as well as Connaught Place will remain closed on Sunday. “Business is down by more than 60%-70%… We will abide by whatever the government asks us to do,” he said.
Sarojini Nagar Mini-Market Association president Ashok Randhawa said: “Some stores made no business yesterday. So we have decided to close for three days. Even vendors will not be at the market. We will take a call on opening the market based on the situation in the capital on Monday.”
Meanwhile, footfall at high-end malls and roadside markets have fallen by more than 70% over the past couple of days.
At a sports shoe outlet in Saket’s Select Citywalk, an employee said footfall has decreased from around 350 people on an average daily to well under 100 people.
Inderjeet Singh, member of the Meher Chand market association, said footfall is so low that people who have rented shops will be unable to pay the monthly amount.
“Earlier, the market was hit due to sealing. now this has severely affected the business here. If the situation persists, those who have shops on rent will start leaving the place,” said Singh.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has also given a call to markets across Delhi to shut for three days.
CAIT secretary general Praveen Khandelwal said: “In the wake of rapidly growing threat of coronavirus, prominent trade leaders of different parts of Delhi decided to close business establishments for the next three days, beginning tomorrow, to prevent community transmission. Markets in Delhi will remain closed on March 21, 22, 23. Trade leaders will review the situation on the evening of March 23 and will decide the future course of action. CAIT has exempted chemist shops, dairy and general consumables from the shutdown for the convenience of citizens.”
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