The nation’s capital’s business fraternity is in a state of panic as it urged the Delhi government on Monday to also consider two other indicators – the number of new coronavirus cases and the number of occupied oxygen beds – before to announce a “yellow” alert.
Under the Graduated Response Action Plan (GRAP) prepared by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) in July, a “yellow” alert (Level 1) will be triggered if, when the Covid positivity rate exceeds 0.5 % for two consecutive days or the number of new cases rises to 1,500 for seven days or the occupancy of oxygenated beds reaches 500 for seven days.
Brijesh Goyal, president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industries (CTI), an umbrella body of traders from different industries, said if the positivity rate also exceeds 0.5% on Monday, then GRAP is likely to enter. in force, under which many restrictions will be imposed on Delhi’s markets and business establishments. “Many activities and businesses will stop as soon as the yellow alert is issued. We have written a letter to DDMA and requested that the GRAP yellow alert will only be applicable when 1,500 cases of coronavirus are reported in Delhi .
“We have also asked the DDMA to review the condition of traders before imposing restrictions under GRAP,” Goyal said. He said that according to medical experts, although the number of Covid cases is increasing in the city, he is currently in a controlled condition. “Delhi has not recorded 1,500 Covid cases for seven consecutive days and the average bed occupancy is also not 500. In such a situation, GRAP phase one restrictions should not be imposed. “, said Goyal. If a “yellow” alert is triggered, cinemas, theatres, banquet halls, gymnasiums, spas and leisure parks will remain closed and markets will operate oddly. A night curfew, the closure of schools and colleges, the halving of accommodation capacity in metros and buses, the closure of non-essential stores and shopping centers are also among the measures that will trigger a “yellow” alert. “. Delhi reported 290 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday with a positivity rate of 0.55%. The DDMA has already announced that a night curfew will be imposed in Delhi from 11 p.m. on Monday, restricting the movement of individuals except those falling under exempted categories due to an increasing number of coronavirus cases and of the threat posed by the Omicron variant of the virus.
The night curfew will be in place from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. until further notice. The Delhi Gym Association has also written to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal regarding the impending ‘yellow’ alert and subsequent closure of gyms and spas. There are approximately 5,500 gyms and fitness centers in the nation’s capital. Delhi Gym Association vice president Chirag Sethi said gymnasiums will be closed first while parks, restaurants and bars will operate with 50 per cent occupancy under a “yellow” alert.
He added that with the COVID-19 positivity rate having reached 0.55% in Delhi, gym owners are in a state of panic. “The industry has already suffered a lot in recent months. This decision will impact it heavily and the whole industry risks collapsing. We ask the DDMA to not only take into account the positivity rate but also the number number of cases and the need for oxygen beds in Delhi,” Sethi said. Similar concerns were echoed by representatives of various market associations in the city. Kamla Nagar Market Association Chairman Nitin Gupta said that instead of closing shops, authorities should focus more on crowd management and enforcing Covid-appropriate behavior.He said the huge crowds seen in markets are mainly due to “illegal” vendors roadside, which barely meet Covid standards.
“Business is already down and markets have suffered losses due to the pandemic. One way or another, traders are surviving. Authorities should review their situation before imposing restrictions,” said Gupta.