Traders see red over Gujarat’s June 30 vaccination deadline

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on June 27, 2021

Though they see merit in govt’s move, resent the short window

The Gujarat Government has made it mandatory for the people engaged in commercial activities to vaccinate their staff against Covid-19 by June 30, failing which their establishments will be closed down.

Owners and staff working at commercial complexes, gyms, shops, libraries, restaurants, public transport services, cinema and malls will have to get their first Covid vaccine dose by June 30 in 18 big cities of the State. The deadline for the rest of the State is fixed at July 10. The extent of punishment for non-compliance is still under consideration, informed government officials.

In its notification dated June 25, the Gujarat government asked businesses and service providers that have direct public engagement to get the vaccine dose to contain the spread of Covid-19 and prevent a possible third wave.

While shop and hotel owners have raised objection to the short deadline, many vaccine centres in Ahmedabad, Vadodara and parts of Saurasthra ran out of vaccines by noon on Saturday. “Government hasn't been able to ensure sufficient stocks at the vaccination centres, but they force us to get vaccinated. Where will we get the vaccine by the deadline of June 30?” a fast-food joint owner at Vastrapur area in Ahmedabad said.

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Trade bodies, while welcoming the compulsory vaccination for containing the spread of the infection, have raised concerns regardingthe short deadline. 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 at such short notice?”

The decision was taken at a core committee meeting chaired by the Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Thursday. Trade bodies are likely to represent to the State for a relaxation in the deadline for shortage of vaccines at all centres.

Narendra Somani, chairman of 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 started 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 26, 2021

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