Move is aimed at helping consumers ahead of the May 6 restrictions
Shops and departmental stores will remain open on Wednesday despite the day being Vanigar Dhinam, which is a holiday every year.
A.M. Vikramaraja, president, Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangagalin Peramaippu, said this was to ensure that consumers buy essential goods before the May 6 restrictions come into effect.
He said on May 5, packs containing provisions would be distributed to those running saloons, flower vendors and dhobis to help them tide over the current situation.
A trader said most kirana stores would hold stocks for only three days to a week.
“They will not have bigger packs since they do not have large storage spaces. If supermarkets are shut down, there will be a shortage of goods, like biscuits, almost immediately,” he said.
Another trader said the early start of 6 a.m. could be pushed to 7 a.m. and the closing time could be 1 p.m. as many people do not go to shops as early as 6 a.m., with schools remaining closed.
P.M. Ganeshraam, State president, Tamil Nadu FMCG Distributors’ Association, said the government could permit traders to stock up till about 3 p.m. after the day’s sales are over.
“This will help in restocking goods and prevent panic buying. Some goods are replenished every three days, some every week, some once in 15 days and so on,” he explained.
Consumer activist T. Sadagopan said the government should have learnt its lessons from last year’s lockdown and brought in time restrictions accordingly.
“They have stopped short of calling it a lockdown. It can even distribute free provisions to affected families through the public distribution system,” he said.
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