Many shops selling non-essential commodities in orange and green zones of West Bengal were forced to close down during the past one week, as fresh suspected COVID-19 cases were reported from those areas, a traders' body said on Monday.
The government allowed non-essential standalone stores to resume operations from May 4.
Around 40-70 per cent shops had reopened gradually in the safe zones across the state, but a section of them had to down shutter again after suspected coronavirus cases were reported from several places, said Raja Roy, state secretary of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT).
The business of non-essential goods has also not picked up and it is nearly one-fifth of the usual trade, Confederation of West Bengal Traders Association president Sushil Poddar said.
"There are reports that shops and markets were closed down by the local administration in Jhargram, Nayagram, Malda and Raiganj," Roy told PTI.
Jhargram and Nayagram are in Jhargram district, while Malda and Raiganj are in Malda and Uttar Dinajpur district.
After a new case was reported around 2 km away from Raiganj, the local administration closed all shops of the town except those selling essentials, Roy said.
In Siliguri, the largest town and a major market of North Bengal, almost 70 of the shops are open, said Poddar.
But business is down across the state as people cannot reach markets due to unavailability of public transport, Roy said.
The decline in disposable income and fear of coronavirus infection have also led to low turnout at shops selling non-essential products like apparels, he said.
The CAIT said the Indian retail sector comprising around 7 crore traders has suffered a loss of Rs 5.50 lakh crore since March 25, when the nationwide lockdown was imposed, and at least 20 per cent of the retailers are likely to wind up their businesses in the next few months.