Shops selling educational books exempted from lockdown

In a small-time relief to publishers and booksellers, the Centre has exempted shops selling education books from the nationwide lockdown, which is set to continue till 3 May.

23 Apr 2020 | By Aultrin Vijay

t is unclear whether shops near or at the containment zones will be allowed to function

The decision has been taken after receiving some queries with regard to exemptions of specific services and activities allowed through the guidelines issued so far, the Union Home Ministry said in its circular released on 22 April.

The notification stated that shops selling educational books for students will be allowed to open during the lockdown. However, it is not clear whether shops near or at the containment zones will be allowed to function.

Lauding the move, Monica Malhotra Kandhari, co-chair, FICCI Publishing Committee, said, "On behalf of FICCI, we thank the Government for including shops of educational books in its list of exemptions during the lockdown. This will help students who are studying from home."

The latest order comes at a time when several publishers have been requesting the government to consider allowing them to operate as an essential service.

News reports stated that many school books publishers were "staring at big losses", after the textbook and study material publication was hit by the lockdown, especially during its peak season. Publishers were fuming over not being able to print or distribute educational books, which formed a major part of their yearly business.

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Print surfaces are safe from Covid-19

According to the World Health Organisation, “The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes Covid-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperate is also low.”

“Newspapers are pretty sterile because of the way they are printed and the process they’ve been through,” said George Lomonossoff, a virologist at the John Innes Centre in the UK. “Traditionally, people have eaten fish and chips out of them for that very reason. So all of the ink and the print makes them actually quite sterile. The chances of [being infected] are infinitesimal.”