Retail stores across India implemented strict social distancing yesterday, the first day of the 21-day lockdown.
However, the biggest relief was for those who went panic buying after the lockdown was announced – big retail stores like Reliance Store, Big Bazaar and More have enough quantities of essential goods.
But there was shortage of goods in local shops.
The Delhi government yesterday asserted there will no shortage of goods in any shop in the national capital.
Besides, the big retail stores have also not increased prices unlike the local shopkeepers.
Reliance Fresh was offering discounts yesterday as it has been doing in the past.
However, the entry to these stores now is not as easy as it was earlier.
Only five customers are allowed in at a time as they have been asked to follow social distancing strictly.
Customers standing in queues outside the stores have been asked to maintain a minimum distance of 1m.
They are given token numbers and have to wait for their turn and are not allowed in if they do not wear facemasks.
Security guards at a Reliance Store in Nangloi refused to let a man enter as he was not wearing a mask.
The man called the police but they also didn’t allow him to enter the store.
Big Bazaar has even started home delivery of goods.
However, the store is facing some problems as the delivery staff is being stopped by the police.
Meanwhile, the federal Home Ministry has asked all states not to stop transportation of essential goods and services.
The ministry also asked officials to enforce social distancing.
“While it is imperative to successfully implement the lockdown, it is also necessary to ensure the unhindered operation of manufacturing, processing, transportation, distribution, storage, trade and commerce and logistics related to all services and establishments and commodities required for the delivery of essential services, which have been exempted under the various prohibitory orders,” the ministry said in a statement.
In order to ensure that these provisions are seamlessly available, the states have been asked to set up a round-the-clock control room or office with helplines to address any grievance or undue problems faced by the providers of goods and services including during inter-state movement.
A nodal officer in a state may be appointed to co-ordinate with the district administration and police in this matter, said the statement.
“This is necessary to ensure continuity of supply chain for essential commodities, several of which may be of a perishable nature.”
The ministry said a Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) be put in place for unhindered operation of essential services and establishments and commodities, including appointment of nodal officers at inter-state borders, issue of vehicle passes and e-passes.
It said the state helpline facility must ensure adequate protection to essential service providers, government or public sector employees and healthcare workers engaged in providing essential services.
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