Business units other than essential goods and services closed in Karnataka till May 4 to contain COVID

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Bengaluru, Apr 22 (PTI) Several shops and business establishments were allegedly forcibly shut by the administration due to a revised order by the Karnataka government on Wednesday that business establishments other than grocery and hardware will not open till May 4 as part of steps to contain the surge in coronavirus.

The closure of shops led to chaos in the market on Thursday, prompting traders to call it 'partial lockdown'.

The government has already announced night curfew from 9 pm to 6 am everyday and week-end curfew till May 4.

Accordiing to the modified order, ration shops, grocery shops, wholesale vegetable markets, restaurants and hotels to sell takeaway products, standalone liquor shops and bars, food processing related industries, banks and insurance companies, delivery of e-commerce and barber and salon shops are permitted to operate with strict adherence to the COVID protocol.

Rest will remain shut, the order said.

The revised order permitted shops and establishments dealing with construction materials to operate.

There was confusion throughout the day among traders who were of the view that the order was related to the weekend curfew.

However, as the traders opened their shops, the police and senior municipal and district-level officers reached there asking them to close following revised guidelines, some shop owners said.

The bustling Chickpet, Balepet, Chamarajpet, Cottonpet and neighbouring trade centres fell silent following this.

A few of the traders PTI spoke to termed the closure of shops as 'partial lockdown', which would deal a severe blow to their businesses, which is already in doldrums for the past three to four years.

'The GST and last year's lockdown had broken our back and now this is going to ruin whatever is left with us.

We are not sure whether this phase will end on May 4 or would be extended further,' Mangilal, a textile dealer, told PTI.

Trade activist Sajjanraj Mehta said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured that there would be no lockdown.

Yet, the shops are being closed, Mehta said.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka Hosiery and Garment Association wrote to Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa to implement the order uniformly and not restrict it to Chickpet and Gandhinagar areas in Bengaluru.PTI GMS BALA GMS BALA