LAHORE: Several businessmen have urged the government to increase working timings of grocery stores, bakeries and confectioneries.
Various officials of the Lahore Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) believe that grocery stores, bakeries and confectioneries should be allowed to operate till 10 pm as these are important businesses and directly connected to the public.
The business community was of the opinion that allowing these businesses to operate till 10 pm would bring great relief to the people.
“The situation caused by the coronavirus lockdowns and limited working hours is causing trouble in the business sector. With the increase in working hours of grocery stores, bakeries and confectioneries, the financial pressure on the traders will be reduced to some extent so they would work extra in line with the Covid-19 SOPs,” they said.
On the other hand, in a survey conducted by Pakistan Today, many people expressed that only limited working hours can reduce the spread of the pandemic.
Alia Adnan, a resident of DHA, said people know that the third wave of coronavirus is at its peak at the moment and any kind of carelessness can put them in risk.
“Even during the last lockdown, the business community was crying for financial losses. Do not they care about human lives? They should implement the SOPs quietly, proving their own responsibility, and the public should also be urged to implement the SOPs. Not only the business community but the whole country is in crisis at the moment. In such cases, instead of putting pressure on the government, we need to stand with the government and that is wisdom,” she suggested.
Zafar Qureshi, a resident of Bahria Town, asked if the needs of the people were not met when there were no bakeries. “The businessmen have no idea how serious the situation is. The purpose of limiting working hours is to tell the people to shop in limited time and return home. At this time, benefit is not in opening businesses but in complete lockdown. Other than opening bakeries and grocery stores, there are many other important needs of the people. This is not the time to put pressure on the government but to implement the SOPs,” he said.
It is pertinent to mention that despite the best efforts of various groups of Anjuman-e-Tajiran and other organisations, including the Qaumi Tajir Ittehad, the government has not been able to extend working hours in the markets.
Abid Electronics Market, Hall Road, Hafeez Centre, and other famous markets on Mall Road, Jail Road and Ferozepur Road are also closed at 6pm.
The leaders of Anjuman-e-Tajiran and other businessmen of retail sector are angry with the government. The Anjuman-e-Tajiran Khalid Pervez Group had also called for a protest in this regard.