A shopper checking out apparels at Paona Bazaar in Imphal on Monday Credit: EastMojo image

Imphal: While the rest of the country is in Unlock 5, Manipur has only just entered Unlock 2. All business establishments in Manipur are finally open and hope to make up for the losses they suffered during the lockdown.

Business owners like Pratik Sethi who owns a clothing and accessories store in Imphal’s Paona bazaar say they are neck-deep in losses due to the closure of markets. Shops dealing with non-essential commodities had to wait till this month to reopen.

“It has been hard for us. Since the lockdown in March, we didn’t open the shop, and this resulted in huge losses. We are now allowed to open; however, as a precautionary measure, we are opening on alternate days,” said Pratik.

Unlock 2 announced by the state home department has brought some relief to the people in the state after months of lockdown mode. Activities which were earlier restricted have slowly eased with more relaxations.

Deserted look at Ima Keithel (mothers’ market) in Imphal on Monday

Also Read: Manipur issues Unlock 2 guidelines; lockdown to stay in C-zone till Oct 31

However, business owners are worried as most customers chose to remain at home unless it becomes a necessity to venture out. At the same time, they are hopeful that more relaxations will be allowed after October 15 in line with other states in the country.

Most of the electronics products are coming from Nagaland and Delhi. But since the lockdown imposed in the state, our business has been badly affected. Due to coronavirus and lack of public transportation, we don’t get many customers these days, said Basant, who runs an electronic and hardware store at Dewlahland in Imphal.

Basant further informed that despite the disruption to his business due to COVID-19, he somehow managed to pay salaries to his staff.

“I must look after my staff as well. Hopefully, we will get a better response in days to come,” added Basant.

Basant runs an electronic shop at Dewlahland in Imphal
A scene at Paona Bazaar on Monday

Also Read: Manipur reports first death of doctor due to COVID-19

Customers are also not visiting markets due to the lack of public transport within Imphal. Inter-district passenger movement is also affected. Even though the inter-district movement of private vehicles and persons were allowed outside the curfew hours, public transportation for inter-district remained suspended.

Meanwhile, frontline workers, including traffic police, remain vigilant. They are monitoring the situation round the clock to avert further spread of the coronavirus.

“We are on rotational duty. I am here from 12 pm to 6 pm, and our job is to check double parking and motorists driving on the wrong side,” said Naorem Premananda, traffic police stationing at Paona bazaar.

“Since the pandemic is still here, we make sure that people wear masks, and maintain social distance,” he added.

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