All Indian Mobile Retailer Association, Mobile Handset Retailers and Telcos Await State Clarity For Opening Outlets

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As per reports, while operators had opened up some of their shops in the green zones, as per earlier directives, they are now reaching out to nodal officers and state authorities to get a clear picture on whether they can open in orange zones and outside the containment areas of red zones. Mobile phone operators, handset retailers, and electronics retail chains are awaiting guidelines from state governments before opening their stores in red zones as they buckle up to resume operations in orange and green districts from Monday.

The government has eased lockdown curbs starting May 4, depending on the number of Covid-19 cases and other indicators in a district (dividing them among Red, Orange, and Green Zones). While operators had opened up some of their shops in the green zones, as per earlier directives, they are now reaching out to nodal officers and state authorities to get a clear picture of whether they can open in orange zones and outside the containment areas of red zones.

The Tata-owned electronics retail chain owns 150+ stores across over 45 cities and has an online presence as well. Reliance Digital, which has almost 200 stores, said it is still assessing the government’s guidelines. Experts estimate about 5 million smartphones are lying unsold in the offline channel.

Independent handset retailers are better positioned to get back to work as the home ministry has allowed non-essential utilities to function between 7 am and 7 pm, including ‘all standalone (single) shops, neighborhood (colony) shops and shops in residential complexes.’

As there is some clarity as to which stores are allowed to open, retailers can resume business following the government’s directives on social distancing with limited staff, according to an executive from All Indian Mobile Retailer Association, which represents 150,000 independent handset shops. Anyway, everyone is awaiting more clarity from the government.