Reports of suspected COVID-19 cases force closure of shops after reopening

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Reports of suspected COVID-19 cases force closure of shops after reopening
Kolkata, May 11 () Many shops selling non-essentialcommodities in orange and green zones of West Bengal wereforced to close down during the past one week, as freshsuspected COVID-19 cases were reported from those areas, atraders' body said on Monday.

The government allowed non-essential standalone storesto resume operations from May 4.

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Around 40-70 per cent shops had reopened gradually inthe safe zones across the state, but a section of them had todown shutter again after suspected coronavirus cases werereported from several places, said Raja Roy, state secretaryof the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT).

The business of non-essential goods has also notpicked up and it is nearly one-fifth of the usual trade,Confederation of West Bengal Traders Association presidentSushil Poddar said.

"There are reports that shops and markets were closeddown by the local administration in Jhargram, Nayagram, Maldaand Raiganj," Roy told .

Jhargram and Nayagram are in Jhargram district, whileMalda and Raiganj are in Malda and Uttar Dinajpur district.

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After a new case was reported around 2 km away fromRaiganj, the local administration closed all shops of the townexcept those selling essentials, Roy said.

In Siliguri, the largest town and a major market ofNorth Bengal, almost 70 of the shops are open, said Poddar.

But business is down across the state as people cannotreach markets due to unavailability of public transport, Roysaid.

The decline in disposable income and fear ofcoronavirus infection have also led to low turnout at shopsselling non-essential products like apparels, he said.

The CAIT said the Indian retail sector comprisingaround 7 crore traders has suffered a loss of Rs 5.50 lakhcrore since March 25, when the nationwide lockdown wasimposed, and at least 20 per cent of the retailers are likelyto wind up their businesses in the next few months. BSMSBNNN NN
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