Gujarat asks all shop owners, staff in big cities to get vaccinated by June 30

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on June 25, 2021

Failure to comply will lead to closure of the commercial establishments

Wielding a legal baton on the citizens to contain the spread of the pandemic and prevent a possible third wave, the Gujarat government on Friday made vaccination compulsory for the sellers at commercial establishments in the State.

In a notification issued on June 25, the Gujarat government has asked all owners and persons engaged in commercial activities at shops, markets and commercial complexes to get their first dose of the vaccine compulsorily. The deadline has been fixed at June 30 for the eight municipal corporations and 10 big cities of the State, while the same for the rest of the State is fixed at July 10. Failing this, the establishments would be forced to close down.

The order covers retail and wholesale shops, restaurants and other business establishments that have direct public engagement.

Shop owners have raised objection to the forcible vaccination and a short deadline. “The vaccination should be voluntary. Shop owners can’t be threatened with police action such as closure of the shops for not taking a jab,” said a medical shop owner in Satellite area in Ahmedabad.

Unrealistic deadline

However, trade bodies see compulsory vaccination as an effective step towards ensuring vaccination for all to contain the spread of the infection. But, they too have raised objection to the short deadline for compliance. Speaking to Business Line, Jayendra Tanna, President, Gujarat Traders’ Federation said, “Vaccination is a good cause and there should be no suspicion on the scientifically proven vaccines. But we object to the government’s strict deadline. In cases of big cities, it is just five days. How can you ensure compliance on such short notice?”

“The police action for failure to comply with the mandate is a wrong approach to push the shop-owners,” he added.

In his address on Thursday, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had stated that the State was moving firmly towards vaccinating all eligible. However, it is still not clear if the State government has adequate supply arrangement to meet the demand arising from this move.

Gujarat is estimated to have about 1.2-1.5 million traders and retailers under the organised sector across the State. The number is likely to be much bigger for those from unorganised sector.

Narendra Somani, Chairman of the hospitality committee of trade body Gujarat Chambers of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) expressed the need for extension in the deadline and hoped for the government to relax the deadline for big cities.

Somani stated that about 60 per cent of the hospitality staff has already been vaccinated. “It is only recently that the industry is getting back on its feet. And now with this directive, it will be difficult to vaccinate all staff in such a short time.” he said adding that the Hotels and Restaurants Association of Gujarat (HRAG) will seek an extension of the deadline.

The Gujarat Home Department, in its notification dated June 25 stated that non-compliance will by punishable under the Gujarat Epidemic Diseases Covid-19 Regulation, 2020 formed under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897; Section 188 of The Indian Penal Code and the Disaster Management Act.

Published on June 25, 2021

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