We need a centralised framework for non-discriminatory operations of all formats of retail: RAI


Retail businesses across India have been successfully following these SOPs and hence should be allowed to operate with strict surveillance.

The Retailers Association of India (RAI) appreciates the government’s intent behind trying to curb the second wave of the pandemic through various measures. However, it believes that shutting down of non-essential retail and malls is not the solution. Instead, there is an urgent need for stricter surveillance to ensure that all rules with regards to safety & hygiene and, social distancing norms are being followed by one and all.

What will help ‘break the chain’ is avoiding crowding and following safety and social distancing protocols, which the modern retail industry has been diligently following since the start of the pandemic last year.

Last year, as the surge of the pandemic lead to a complete lockdown in India, Retailers Association of India had put in place specific SOPs to be followed by different categories of retail including footwear, apparel, food and grocery, beauty and wellness, CDIT, Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs), jewellery and footwear as well as for Malls to follow when opening and operating physical stores. These SOPs include protocols addressing each and every aspect of efficient and safe functioning of offline stores. The SOPs have been based on a broad framework of SOPs that have been approved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and are in sync with the guidelines prescribed by the Government of India.

Retail businesses across India have been successfully following these SOPs and hence should be allowed to operate with strict surveillance.

Speaking about allowing all forms of retail to operate, Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India said “We www.newsbarons.comneed a centralised framework that allows for the non-discriminatory operations of all formats of retail and time-bound resolutions. Punish those who are defaulting the safety norms, take strict action. Complete shutting down of retail, other than essentials, will not solve any problem. Businesses are struggling again, while millions of jobs are at stake.”

Retailers Association of India (RAI) has also suggested prioritising vaccination of the retail frontline workers (FLWs) as a better way to curb the pandemic than to shut retail businesses. Frontline retail workers which include individuals engaged in the supply, retail and delivery of products across all channels of retail face hundreds of people in the course of dispensing their duties and run the risk of getting infected. Since nearly 90% of frontline retail workforce are under the age of 45 years, they do not meet the present vaccination criteria.

Prioritising vaccination will not only benefit the retail industry but will also help the public at large who continue to rely on the frontline retail workers for their daily needs.

The entire retail industry including non-essential retail is keen on joining the war against COVID-19 by following social distancing protocols and safety measures.

Removing roadblocks at the local level will not only help curb the spread but will also help save millions of livelihoods and help revive the economy.