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A group of trade associations have appealed to Maharashtra government to permit all shops, including those selling non-essentials, to operate from Monday to Friday while ensuring a weekend lockdown as traders fear loss of business amid the ongoing restrictions imposed in the state.

“We, the traders of Maharashtra represented by (in alphabetical order) Chamber of Maharashtra Industry and Trade (CAMIT), Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), Federation of Associations of Maharashtra(FAM), Federation of Retailers’ Traders Welfare Associations (FRTWA) and Maharashtra Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (MCCIA) appeal to the Hon. Chief Minister to permit all shops to operate from Monday to Friday and to enforce strict lockdown on weekend i.e. Saturday and Sunday. We traders will comply with all safety requirements of Covid-19," according to a representation made by several trade bodies to the state’s chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday.

The move follows the “Break the Chain" order dated 04 April issued by the state that directed all shops, markets and malls are to remain closed throughout the day except for those selling essential services.

“Essential services shops to operate while ensuring social distancing between customers in the shop premises. Extra customers to be kept waiting with adequate social distancing with markings wherever possible," the order said. Within retail it identified essential services as groceries, vegetables shops, dairies, bakeries, confectioneries and food shops. Restaurants have been asked to close down for dine-in, while permitting food aggregators to deliver food and essentials 24x7.

Maharashtra is in the midst of a sharp surge in covid cases that has already strained the state’s health infrastructure.

“We appeal and request you to kindly make the above change in the “Break the Chain" order. We assure you that traders will observe the precautionary measures as per the guidelines issued by the concerned authorities," they said.

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