The total lockdown announcement was not made by the state government of Maharashtra, all the same retailers kept a lot of stores closed due to stringent lockdown requests by local government agencies.
Said a Thane-based retailer on conditions of anonymity, “We see ten women crowding around a vegetable vendor – where no social distancing is observed. The vendor does not even wear a mask, because his voice needs to reach out to all the buyers at once. While in jewellery stores like ours, where daily walk-ins are barely 10-15 persons spread out over the whole day and on occasions like Gudi Padva, where a lot of Maharashtrians would have come forward to buy gold we have been asked to keep stores closed. Jewellery cannot be sold online, big brands like maybe Tanishq or their subsidiaries may be able to sell gold jewellery online but that too will be minimal during such times.” Covid has dampened the buying spirit when it comes to jewellery. “Maharashtra is shutdown. We are doing online business, people are buying pure gold. Wedding purchases are happening because of impending total lockdown. Demand is there for pure gold rings, coins etc. Investors are buying because they anticipate increase in gold prices, which had stabilized at Rs 46000 for ten grams and is now steadily rising,” explains Vastupal Ranka of Ranka Jewellers, Pune. Buying jewellery is more comfortable in real life than via any digital platform. According to Surendrapal Singh of Neelkanth Jewellers Pune, “We have had to lose all the business which takes place on this auspicious day. Pune is known as the cultural hub of Maharashtra and people do look forward to come in to buy jewellery on such days – it is sad that the government has ordered jewellery retailers to shut shop on Gudi Padva.”