Festive season gradually driving Chandigarh markets out of pandemic gloom
The onset of nine-day Navratri festivities has already started multiplying customer footfall and sales in the city’s markets, to even pre-lockdown levels for some, say traders.Updated: Oct 17, 2020, 23:09 IST
Even as the Covid pandemic and subsequent lockdown forced near shutting of businesses and kept people indoors, the approaching festival season and significant drop in the number of virus cases has heightened the hopes for all quarters.
The onset of nine-day Navratri festivities has already started multiplying customer footfall and sales in the city’s markets, to even pre-lockdown levels for some, say traders.
President of Business Promotion Council, Sector 17, Neeraj Bajaj said, “The corridors of Sector 17 which wore a deserted look earlier have started filling up again. People are coming out to eat at restaurants and to buy gifts for their families, and sales have increased greatly. On the weekends, the market looks nearly as busy as it used to be during pre-Covid times.”
The old buzz is almost back at Sector 46 market too, shares its association head Balwinder Singh Uttam. “The number of Covid cases has gone down so people aren’t as scared as before and are now used to wearing masks and maintaining social distance. We are highly encouraged by the buyers’ response and hope that sales during the festivals go as high as the previous years.”
Stalls to come up before Dussehra
Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) chairman Charanjeev Singh, who owns a shop in Sector 22, said the shopkeepers had been asking the UT administration for permission to set up stalls and they have got the same only recently. “Shop owners will start setting up stalls around 3 days before Dussehra. Stalls bring a festive look to the market and the extra space can be utilised for more sales,” he said adding that sweets and clothes were becoming the most sold items in the markets.
Plan to use schools, colleges for parking
Even though the rush in markets is expected to be lesser than previous years, the traffic police will take the same precautions to monitor the traffic. Officiating senior superintendent of police for traffic, Manoj Kumar Meena said, “We have converted schools and colleges around the 16 busiest markets of the city into makeshift parking. Traffic police personnel will also be posted here to ensure that the rules are followed. Challans will be issued for wrong parking.”
However, the CBM chairman said some of the major markets including those in sectors 22, 27, 46 and 46 haven’t been covered under this plan and they will approach SSP Traffic regarding the same.
Sales go up at Elante Mall
Meanwhile, sales have also gone up in the city’s malls, with Elante looking livelier now after the lockdown. Nexus Malls executive director for corporate affairs Anil Malhotra said, “Elante is now almost 100% operational. We have special offers for customers who shop here and Navratri special food at our restaurants.”
Smaller markets recovering slowly
The smaller and congested markets in the city, where odd-even rule had been established earlier, are still on the road to slow recovery. President of Shastri Market in Sector 22, Jaswinder Nagpal said, “Due to the Covid-induced lockdown, our sales had dropped down to only 10% of what it used to be earlier. Now, it is at 35%, but the signs are encouraging. People have starting to come out more now and during festivals like Dusshera and Diwali, we expect more customers here.”
Rules to follow
Get thermally scanned and sanitised outside shops
Wear masks, those without them will be fined ₹500
Keep physical distance of 6 feet in and around shops
Prefer contactless payment, use e-banking or UPI