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Low turnout in Ghaziabad markets after curfew restrictions lifted

Ghaziabad: Markets in trans-Hindon and city areas in Ghaziabad witnessed a low turnout on Monday as the city opened up for the first time since April 30 after the partial Corona curfew was relaxed
UPDATED ON JUN 07, 2021 11:34 PM IST

Ghaziabad: Markets in trans-Hindon and city areas in Ghaziabad witnessed a low turnout on Monday as the city opened up for the first time since April 30 after the partial Corona curfew was relaxed. The district police said that the crowd remained low at about 30-40% of the usual strength.

The major markets of the city, including those in Turab Nagar, Gandhi Nagar, Vasundhara’s Sector 15, Vaishali’s Sector 4, Indirapuram, and in Sahibabad witnessed low footfall as majority of shoppers were those who had come for urgent tasks.

“I came to get my mobile phone repaired and also took my car to the mechanic. These things had been pending in light of the curfew,” said Lagan Gupta, a resident of Abhay Khand in Indirapuram.

The partial Corona curfew was imposed from the night of April 30 and continued in Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar till June 7. It was relaxed as the number of active cases in each of the districts fell below the 600-mark, which was a condition set by the state government. According to the state control room figures of Monday, active cases in Ghaziabad stood at 480 while it was 400 for GB Nagar.

“The curfew went on for over a month, and people could not go out to markets, etc. I went to the market on Monday to purchase daily wear clothes and slippers, and also got some gadgets repaired which were lying defunct. It was a visit only for essential works,” said Seema Malhotra, a visitor at Vaishali Sector 4 market.

As per government directions, the markets can remain open from 7am to 7pm while weekly closure would be on weekends which have been reserved, for cleaning and sanitisation of public areas.

“Most people who came to markets were wearing masks and were visiting only for essential things, such as purchases for weddings or getting a haircut, besides others who came to buy daily-wear and daily-use items. The footfall was also affected due to the weather being on Monday. We have also asked our association members to observe all Covid protocols and request customers to observe the same,” said Pradeep Gupta, convener of the Vyapari Ekta Samiti – Indirapuram in Ghaziabad.

Markets in city areas also saw sparse footfall.

“There was no rush in markets, and this is helpful in a way to maintain social distancing. After having suffered during the second wave, people are still fearful of Covid and are avoiding going out, unless necessary. The footfall at Turab Nagar market was about 30%-40% on Monday, in comparison to normal days. Since the duration of opening markets has increased, there will be less rush now,” said Rajneesh Bansal, chairperson of the Turab Nagar Vyapar Mandal.

“On the first day of re-opening, the traders and shop owners also took up cleaning activities for hours before the shops were opened for business,” he added.

During the curfew, the shops of essential commodities were allowed to open up from 7am to 11am only.

Police officers said checks are being conducted in markets.

“We estimate the crowd strength was about 30%-40% or even less on Monday. Our teams conducted checks regularly and there were many who were found not wearing masks and were penalised. We will continue checking for erring persons; night checking will also continue,” said Gyanendra Kumar Singh, superintendent of police (city 2).

The police in May issued 86,249 penalties for not wearing masks while 19,579 were issued in the first six days of June.

The district health department, meanwhile, said that the daily number of new Covid cases has come down.

“The number of daily cases has come down and for the past eight days (since May 31) the fresh cases are below 50 each day. Even though the partial Corona curfew has been relaxed, we will continue with about 8,000 tests per day. The testing will be able to detect if the virus is spreading more after relaxations,” said Dr NK Gupta, chief medical officer.

According to the official figures of the district health department, Ghaziabad had a recovery rate of 98.29% on Monday, with a sample positivity rate at 0.44% so far in the month. The sample positivity rate in May was 7.65% while it was 8.84% in April this year.

Sample positivity rate refers to the number of samples testing positive per 100 samples tested.

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