Despite India being under Unlock phase 3 after months of a nationwide lockdown starting March, retail and recreational activities are still far below the pre-coronavirus period. Mobility trends for places such as restaurants, cafes, shopping centres, theme parks, museums, and cinemas is downbeat with 43% degrowth in travels to such places from January-February baseline, according to Google’s latest mobility report. In fact, it is not just retail and recreational travels that have shown a degrowth. Mobility to public transport places such as metros, bus depots, train stations along with workplace travels have fallen by 35% and 32% respectively as compared to the pre-Coronavirus period, indicating that people are still wary of travelling despite easing of restrictions.
India entered a nationwide lockdown on 25th March 2020 to check the spread of coronavirus and was under one of the harshest lockdowns in the world with virtually all economic activities coming to a grinding halt. However, the government allowed gradual resumption of business activities to aid the economy and livelihood. While there has been a gradual recovery activity levels starting 1st June 2020, when India entered Unlock phase 1, there have been localised slowdowns since then as states rushed to curb rising coronavirus cases. The same has been detrimental to economic recovery as people were again compelled to stay at home. According to several other reports as well, localised lockdown have impeded economic recovery. Although economic activity has started to recover from April 2020, when the lockdown was at its severest, the unabated rise in COVID-19 cases in the unlock phase and localised re-imposition of lockdowns in several states have interrupted economic recovery in recent weeks, ICRA said in a statement early this August.
Further, even while the country has started to open economic activities, not all retail and recreational activities have been permitted to open. For example, cinema halls, bars, etc are still closed and even while restaurants have been allowed to open, they are working at reduced capacities. Fears of public spaces also looms large amid consumers, hampering retail revival.