Coronavirus lockdown: RWAs await clarity on MHA guidelines that allow shops to remain open

Ghughuti Bulletin

Resident welfare associations are still awaiting clarity on the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) guidelines on April 24 that 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.

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.

The new guidelines will not impact areas in the red or containment zone.

This is a home ministry order and has to be followed by directions from the district administration. They have to take a call separately.

“In hotspots nothing is going to change. This may only be applicable for areas that fall under the green zone. Almost half of Noida is in the containment zone. We are still awaiting clarity. Nothing may change in Noida right away,” said Rajiva Singh President Noida Federation of Apartment Owners Association (NOFAA)

Sanjay Jain, president, ATS Advantage, Ghaziabad said that provision stores in the society are allowed to remain open until 4 pm as per the district administration’s order. “We are expecting more clarification on the home ministry’s revised guidelines,” he said.

Alok Kumar, president, Federation of Apartment Owners Association of  Ghaziabad said that they are still ‘confused’ as there are no guidelines yet from the state.

Brigadier Anand Sharma of Raheja Atlantis, Gurgaon, told Moneycontrol that the revised guidelines are applied only for societies in the green zone. The order is not relevant to Gurgaon. Provision stores would in any case remain open.

Gaurav Gupta, president, CREDAI NCR – Ghaziabad told Moneycontrol that these guidelines are not applicable for high red zone areas but it is a good order as economic activity in other zones can begin.

The Retailers Association of India (RAI) has welcomed the government’s efforts to open up the retail sector but it still lacks clarity.

“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.

“Keeping in mind the current environment and lessons learnt by opening up of essential retail through the lockout, we would recommend that the government open up all channels of retail on a date that it feels safe with the social distancing norms clearly defined. Local authorities can ensure strict implementation and action. 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, CEO, Retailers Association of India.

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