Crowds thronged textile and jewelry stores across the city, when they reopened on Monday after a hiatus of several weeks, following the easing of lockdown standards.
The state government announced Sunday evening that such stores will be permitted in Category 2 neighborhoods. Owners of the city’s textile and jewelry stores have welcomed the easing of lockdown standards.
Ashraf Tayub, secretary of the Tamil Nadu Textile Merchants Association, said shutting down stores for nearly 50 days had a severe financial impact on businesses. With almost no income, the store owners had to pay the rent, the electric bill, the GST and had to pay their monthly loans to the banks.
In addition, owners also had to pay their staff salaries, said SB Senthil Kumar, director of Balagopalan Jewelery Mart. “With the reopening of the stores, we hope to be able to resume sales to meet our overhead costs,” he added.
Mr Tayub said that on Monday all textile stores had deep cleaned their premises until the afternoon. “The dust had settled on the clothes while the stores had been closed all these weeks. So once the stores reopened, the owners also had to clean the clothes, ”he added.
Although the government mentioned that only 50% of customers could be allowed in textile and jewelry stores, some stores were crowded.
Mr Senthil Kumar said a moratorium was announced by the government during the lockdown of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. “It will be very useful if the government announces a moratorium this year too, for the benefit of traders,” he added.