Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday urged trader bodies and market welfare associations to ensure Covid-19 appropriate behaviour in their business areas even as he tried to allay concerns about a possible lockdown.
“I met representatives of market associations and removed their anxieties. The government does not wish to shut any market. They assured that anyone not wearing a mask in the market will be provided a free mask by the association. All shops will be asked to keep spare masks and sanitisers. The agenda of the meeting was to seek cooperation in ensuring Covid-19 appropriate behaviour at market places,” said Kejriwal.
Representatives of several trader bodies and market associations participated in the meeting through video conference facility.
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“We have specifically pointed out about all forms of encroachment in Delhi markets. Because of encroachment, there is hardly any space left for social distancing in markets. Unless the government works in this regard, they cannot ensure full compliance of Covid-19 appropriate behaviour. We are yet to get any assurances on that,” said Sanjay Bhargava, president of Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal.
Brijesh Goel, president of the chamber of trade and industry, said: “The meeting with the CM has helped calm down anxieties among traders. We will work towards further ensuring Covid-19 appropriate behaviour in markets.”
Kejriwal had said on Tuesday that he has sought permission from the central government to allow the Delhi government to temporarily shut down markets assessed as potential Covid-19 hot spots from time to time in the light of the violation of social distancing norms and Covid-19 regulations.
Under the present guidelines, states need the approval of the Union home ministry for imposing any local lockdown-like restrictions.
The announcement has led to anxiety among traders in the city even as the government has been insisting that this should not be perceived as a “lockdown”.