The decision to open on alternate days acquires significance because this is for the first time such a move has been proposed by the business community, anxious after portions of some markets had to be shut last week when some traders were detected Covid-19 positive. Earlier, the government appealed to business community several times not to ignore safety measures for the virus but there was hardly any reciprocation.
Markets that will follow the alternate day arrangement — two shops located side by side will open on alternate days — includes Bagri Market, Nanadaram Market, Sadasukh Katra on MG Road, electrical goods markets on Ezra Street and Rajakatra in Burrabazar.
The rules must be followed scrupulously. A spread in the business district may be difficult to control.
“Business is important but so is the safety of shop owners, employees and customers,” said Asutosh Singh, president of the Bagri Market Central Kolkata Traders’ Welfare Association. This market has close to 950 shops.
Last week, parts of New Market, College Street and Nandaram Market had to be sealed after traders tested positive.
“Social distancing and other precautionary measures are a must if we are serious about safeguarding ourselves and our businesses,” said Chandresh Meghani, president of the Calcutta Electric Dealers’ Association in Ezra Street and Pollock Street.
As soon as the markets reopened two weeks ago there was surge of customers. The administration blamed a section of the traders for prioritising business over safety.
At Nandaram Market and Sadasukh Katra, too, the shops will follow odd-even formula. “Our markets are our responsibility, so it’s up to us to take steps to safeguard our businesses,” said Purushottam Agarwal, president of Nandaram Market Traders’ Welfare Association.