There has been a stringent lockdown ever since the new Government took over in the first week of May 2021 in the state of Tamil Nadu. For over 6 weeks, all kinds of non-essential retail were completely shut while food and grocery were allowed to operate with time restrictions during this period. These were relaxed 2 weeks ago and subsequently, most formats of retail (and services) such as Opticals, Electronics, Food and Grocery, Restaurants, etc. have begun operations across the state except the two large verticals comprising Apparel Retail and Jewellery.
Retailers Association of India (RAI), the only nodal agency representing semi- and fully Organised retailers across the country presented an appeal of request to Mr. Jayant Kumar, Principal Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu, requesting the state to allow reopening of apparel stores with a commitment to strict adherence of Covid-19 protocols. Through a formal request letter which can be accessed here, the agency requested the permitting of apparel and garment shops to operate for full working hours by which retailers can ensure effective implementation of social distancing norms and avoid crowding.
The letter also stated that Retail businesses have been strained tremendously due to extended closures and there are financial pressures on various fronts such as salaries, rentals , electricity charges, various taxes, etc. RAI said that retailing is a people intensive industry and employs more than 10 lakh retailers in the state and employs 50 lakh citizens in the trade. It may be noted that many other states including Karnataka, Telangana, Maharasthra and Delhi have reopened most of the retail formats and the cities have been witnessing traffic snarls and over-crowding at hotspots though places of worship, entertainment parks, etc. have remain closed due to the second wave.
Members of RAI had earlier donated Rs. 66 Lakhs in Jun ‘21 to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.