Throwing the mandatory COVID-19 safety protocols to the wind, people thronged the key commercial streets in the city in large numbers on Sunday, for Deepavali shopping.
There has been a surge in the number of shoppers in areas such as NSB Road, Chinnakadai Street, Big Bazaar Street, Nandhi Koil Street, West Boulevard Road near Theppakulam, Singarathope, and Super Bazaar for the last few days to buy dress materials and ready-made garments. Being a holiday on Sunday, shoppers made a beeline to visit their favourite textile showrooms. With thousands of people thronging NSB Road, which is considered a shoppers’ paradise, there wasn’t enough space to move about. The crowd moved at a snail’s pace due to the heavy rush.
But for about 30% of the people wearing masks, the majority had failed to wear masks and maintain social distancing. The safety protocols being in force to prevent the spread of COVID-19 were apparently disregarded. While a few showrooms allowed customers in after screening with thermal scanners, the surging crowds made the process impracticable in several other shops. Many of them did not exercise caution to keep distance even while buying clothes in the showrooms.
Though the police were visible on the streets, they hardly checked the people, who were not wearing face masks. Though, most of the employees of showrooms were seen wearing face masks it hardly served the desired purpose as almost all showrooms were heavily packed right from morning. Many of them struggled to put in place the COVID-19 safety protocols.
Expressing concern over the non-compliance of safety protocols by shoppers and traders, N. Jamaludeen, a consumer activist, said that complacency had cropped up among all stakeholders. Most of the stakeholders had failed to follow the safety norms and it poses a great danger to public health.
“I have seen people, who do not wear masks but can be seen coughing, sneezing, and spitting on NSB Road. It is disturbing,” Mr. Jamaludeen said.