Industry and trade associations appeal to Collector against mandatory testing

Following Coimbatore Corporation’s notice to several shops asking them to test all their workers for COVID-19, representatives of more than 10 industrial and trade associations met District Collector K. Rajamani on Friday.

“We explained our financial constraints to the Collector. Transport and handling costs have increased manifold after the lockdown. All businesses have to shell out for the statutory payments too. Hence, it will not be possible to test all the workers for COVID-19 in private labs,” said C. Balasubramaniam, vice president of the Federation of Trade Associations, Coimbatore.

Testing the workers and staff for COVID-19 every 15 days under the pool test method will be practically difficult and unaffordable to the MSMEs. The industries have taken several measures to safeguard their workers. Regular awareness programmes are conducted for them, according to the Joint Council of Associations of Coimbatore, in a memorandum to the Collector.

The Federation of Coimbatore Industrial Associations also appealed to the Collector to ask the Corporation to conduct tests for the workers and to not take action on the units that are unable to test the workers.

According to Mr. Balasubramaniam and R. Ramamurthy, president of Coimbatore District Small Industries Association, the Collector has urged the industries and commercial establishments to take all the precautionary measures. He urged the units to go in for random testing to ensure there is no spread. If there are more cases in a particular shop or industry, the Collector warned that strict action will be taken against the establishment. The officials have also said the trade and industry can test the workers at the COVID-19 camps conducted by the government, they said.

Shops to close down

Nearly 350 shops on Cross Cut Road — from Lala sweet corner to North Coimbatore flyover — will remain closed from 7 p.m. on Saturday to September 6 night. This is to control the spread of COVID-19 and to reduce the crowd on Cross Cut Road, said S. Jothimani, secretary of Merchants Association, Cross Cut Road. There are several shops on the adjoining roads that have expressed support to the move, he said.

The Federation of Trade Associations, Coimbatore, representing 14 trade associations will decide on Saturday night or Sunday whether its members will also go in for closure of shops. These associations represent traders in various sectors such as furniture, steel, and paper.

Coimbatore Jewellers Association president B. Sabarinath said the association would decide on closure of retail jewellery outlets in the city on Monday. The hoteliers have decided to keep the hotels open.

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