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MHA circular on shops | Retailers Association recommends even malls should be allowed to open

RAI also said that the government should also open up all channels of retail on a date that it feels safe with the social distancing norms clearly defined.

April 25, 2020 / 02:30 PM IST

Retailers Association of India (RAI) has recommended that government should also allow malls to remain open as they are run professionally.

“Malls in the country should also be allowed to open as they are professionally run and would be able to control the environment for safety and social distancing,” said Kumar Rajagopalan, Chief Executive, Retailers Association of India (RAI).

RAI also said that the government should also open up all channels of retail on a date that it feels safe with the social distancing norms clearly defined.

Kumar said that local authorities can ensure strict implementation and take appropriate action if not followed.

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The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on April 24 has allowed all shops registered under the Shops and Establishment Act of respective states and union territories (UTs), including shops in residential complexes and market complexes to function.

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The revised guidelines were issued under Section 10(2) of the Disaster Management Act and excludes shops in multi-brand and single brand malls outside the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities.

The shops will have to function with 50 percent worker strength and masks and social distancing will be mandatory.

Post this, the MHA has issued a clarification, specifying that in rural areas all shops except those in shopping malls are allowed to open. In urban areas, all standalone shops, neighbourhood shops and shops in residential complexes are allowed to open, while shops in markets or market complexes and shopping malls are not allowed to open.

Speaking on the circular which does not clearly specify what kind of shops can be allowed to open, Rajagopalan said, “We feel the current circular is open to interpretation and needs more clarity for easier implementation - terms like market complexes are not easily understood. We at RAI are willing to work with the Government to make this process of opening retail easier without compromising on social distancing norms.”

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