Indian gems and jewellery industry is predominantly wedding driven. (Reuters)

MUMBAI : Following the coronavirus outbreak, the gems and jewellery sector in the country has come to a standstill with retailers managing to do only 20-25 per cent business due to fewer footfalls amid fear of the virus’ spread, according to an industry body.

“There is virtually no footfalls in jewellery stores and retailers are doing only 20-25 per cent business across the country,” All India Gem And Jewellery Domestic Council chairman Anantha Padmanaban told PTI here.

He further noted that there is panic among people due to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). Besides, as a precautionary measure the government has shut malls, theatres and other crowded places. People are mostly venturing out to buy essential commodities.

Meanwhile, the number of deaths around the world linked to the new coronavirus has reached nearly 8,000.

In India, the number of novel coronavirus cases has risen to 147 on Wednesday, with 10 fresh cases reported from various parts of the country, according to the Health Ministry.

Padmanaban further noted that considering this is the last month of this fiscal there is mounting pressure to meet all the tax-related deadlines.

“There are a lot of tax related work, including advance tax, GST, demonetisation note to be submitted to the Income Tax department, which is adding up to the lack of business,” he said.

According to Lala Jugal Kishore Jewellers Director Tanya Rastogi “Indian gems and jewellery industry is predominantly wedding driven. But due to coronavirus most such events are being cancelled. That has driven the wedding shopping to a halt.”

Kumar Jain, owner of the Umedmal Tilokchand (UT) Zaveri jewellery store, said the Zaveri Bazar in Mumbai has come to a standstill despite the ongoing wedding season.

“There are marriage dates till July, and the business was picking up for the season. However, after the outbreak of COVID-19 things have come to a standstill and there are almost no footfalls in retail stores,” he said.

Things are expected to return to normal by the end of March, jewellers believe.

Anmol Jewellers founder Ishu Datwani said, there has been a 60-70 per cent drop in footfalls and business is slow due to the coronavirus pandemic. “We are taking all necessary precautions and safety measures to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being,” he added.


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