Despite MCC order to open, bakers cite lack of staff and fresh supplies
Mysore/Mysuru: Bread, a staple in most city homes, was hard to come by till now due to the lockdown, forcing families to shift to other breakfast options. The situation is set only to improve in another two or three days as bakeries have been allowed to open considering bread, buns and biscuits as essential commodities.
The Mysuru City Corporation yesterday said that bakeries could open in city but imposed many restrictions. They are allowed to open in accordance with COVID-19 lockdown protocol. Permission was granted to sell only bakery items such as bread, biscuits and buns.
They are prevented from selling coffee, tea, fruit juices and other liquid products and they are asked to sell permitted items only through parcels and are told to ensure total hygiene in their vicinity and social distancing by customers. However, a day after the orders were passed, most of the bakeries in city remained closed this morning, even in the heart of the city. Reason: Lack of staff and fresh products.
The lockdown was announced suddenly and the bakeries were asked to shut shop even before they could exhaust stocks. “It has been nine days and we have sent our workers home as the lockdown will be effective till Apr. 14. Suddenly we cannot open. Also, bakery items are perishable commodities and as it was a sudden lockdown, all our items have spoilt now. We need to replace with fresh stocks,” said a bakery owner in Vijayanagar First Stage.
Many bakeries in the heart of the city including D. Devaraj Urs Road, Chamaraja Double Road, and Ramaswamy Circle were closed this morning. Some of the bakeries in the outer areas like Sharadadevinagar, Ganesh Bhandar, Saraswathipuram and Kuvempunagar extension areas were open only till afternoon. Even the popular V.B. Bakery near Patashala Circle that is famous for fresh puffs and dil pasands was closed.
Pradeep of Srikrishna Bakery told Star of Mysore that both closure and opening notice came suddenly. “We need time to prepare and get fresh bakery products. Plus most of the bakers have sent their employees home and there is a lockdown. It will be difficult for the staff to immediately return and resume work,” he said.
If the bakers are to be believed, the shortage of flour and maida in the wholesale market has only compounded the problem. The shortage will likely to continue till the end of the lockdown.
Only five percent bakeries are open in city, which is highly inadequate to meet the demand. “Our workers who live in far off places cannot return because there is no public transport and workers do not have own vehicles. Days before the lockdown we were operating bakeries with skeletal staff but now, even their families are scared and calling them back. Many of them have managed to leave already,” said Prashanth Nair, a bakery owner in Vijayanagar.
Mysuru Hotel Owners Association President C. Narayanagowda told SOM that there were over 80 bakeries in city and over 300 in district. “All of them will take time to open as fresh and regular supply of bakery products will have to be ensured. They might open from tomorrow and will be able to carry out full-fledged business only after lockdown,” he said.