Traders plan protest against new Covid restrictions

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Traders in Karachi have decided to protest against the restrictions imposed by the Sindh government amid a surge of coronavirus cases in the province.

The Karachi Traders Action Committee has said it will chalk out a protest plan during a meeting on Saturday.

Owners of marriage halls and restaurants have also been summoned for the meeting. It will be followed by a press conference.

The positivity rate in the province is 10.3%. Karachi’s situation is worsening by the day. At least 1,002 patients are in critical care as of Friday

Among other restrictions, the government has allowed shopping malls and markets to operate from 6am to 6pm, while it has also banned weddings and indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants.

The representatives of the traders’ community said they are not against safety precautions but the time limitations and two days off per week are going to put heavy financial pressure on them.

They said the government should have taken advice from the traders before taking the decision.

“The lockdowns have brought traders to a very weak stage financially,” All Karachi Traders Union president SharjeelGoplani told media.“Many shopkeepers decided to shut down their businesses since the coronavirus broke out.”

Goplani said the government has not done anything to facilitate the traders despite seeing them bear these hardships.

“The government has abandoned them.”He said the community is considering displaying banners and conducting demonstrations to protest against the government’s policies.

Union Chairperson Ateeq Mir said the daily wage earners will be affected the most due to the new restrictions. He said markets closing at 6pm will cause heavy traffic jams across the city.

Representatives from the Karachi Electronics Dealers Association said the government should focus on the successful implementation of SOPs rather than imposing restrictions on businesses.

 

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