Hotels, gyms and weekly market traders protest against LG at CP in New Delhi on Tuesday.

NEW DELHI: The owners of hotels, gyms, yoga centres and shopkeepers in weekly markets have threatened to launch protests if lieutenant governor Anil Baijal doesn’t permit them to start their businesses by the end of this week.
In the first joint press conference convened by them on Tuesday, the businessmen stated that the four months of closure had destroyed their finances and many of them were fighting for survival. A symbolic protest was later organised by them at Connaught Place.
While Delhi government wants to open all these economic activities, Baijal has refused to permit them citing the fragile Covid-19 situation in the capital. This issue had also triggered a confrontation between the Aam Aadmi Party government and the LG.
Chamber of Trade and Industry convener Brijesh Goyal said around 25 lakh people were dependent upon gyms, hotels and weekly markets. Lack of options to sustain themselves was forcing them to resort to protests.
“The Centre has permitted opening of hotels, gyms, yoga centres and weekly markets across the country. Various state governments have permitted these sectors to open despite their Covid-19 situation being worse than Delhi. The pandemic is under control in the capital and the recovery rate has crossed 90%, but the LG is refusing to allow such economic activities,” said Goyal.
Chirag Sethi of Delhi Gym Association said that gyms had been allowed to open in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and several other states. “Delhi has more than 5,500 gyms and over 1 lakh people earn their livelihood from them. We have been jobless for the past 150 days. If we are not allowed to open, we will have no other option but to start protests,” he added.
A trader said that Delhi had more than 2,500 hotels and guesthouses, all of which provide livelihood to lakhs of people. “Since all hotels and guesthouses are closed, we are scrounging for a living,” he added.
Weekly markets are a major source of employment for thousands of people in the city. Sanjay Sachdeva and Ashok Arora, who are connected with weekly markets, said that about 2,700 weekly markets function across Delhi where thousands of small businessmen sell various products to earn a living.
The traders promised that if they were allowed to open, they would strictly follow the social distancing guidelines and standard operating procedures that would be issued by the government for hotels, gyms, yoga institutes and weekly markets.
Sources said these sectors were not likely to be allowed to operate anytime soon because of the fluctuation in the number of Covid-19 cases being reported everyday.

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