Theatres, Gardens, Zoo, Gymnasiums shut in Pune until further notice; restaurants see low walk-ins
After schools cancelled exams for students from Class 5 to Class 8, giving them an early vacation; some offices have also allowed their employees work from home options as a precautionary measure to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak in various parts of the country.
After the government issued orders to shut down multiplexes, all the multiplexes held their last shows until midnight of 13 March. “We had our last show, half full before the orders came in to close the multiplexes until further orders,” said Prakash Chaphalkar, owner of City Pride Multiplex.
This is after the Maharashtra government on Friday declared the coronavirus as an epidemic in five metropolitan cities - Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad. The malls, gymasiums, cinema halls, swimming pools will be closed down from Friday night onwards in these cities until March 31.
On Saturday, a day after Chief Minister Udhav Thackeray made this announcement, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) decided to close all public gardens and the Rajiv Gandhi Zoo located at Katraj from March 14, 2020.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Rubal Agrawal issued the circular for closing the gardens on Saturday afternoon and instructed the garden department to close all the gardens till the fresh orders come.
Agarwal said, “Large number of people and kids are visiting the PMC gardens. As a precautionary measure to prevent the transmission of corona virus, PMC had decided to close the gardens for few days.” The civic body maintains more than 200 gardens in the city.
PMC also said that the divisional commissioner had already instructed cancellation or postponement of all the public programmes where large number of people were expected to gather. As per the divisional commissioner’s instructions, the PMC had taken this decision.
The Rajiv Gandhi Zoo, a popular weekend destination for families, was also closed on the backdrop of the Coronavirus. As Pune is a cultural centre, all the 14 theatres and auditoriums managed by the civic body were also closed. Sunil Mate, manager, Cultural Centre, PMC said, “A day earlier, drama production companies had cancelled their shows after watching the news. Hence, despite having bookings for two shows at Annabhau Sathe and Bal Gandharva Rang Mandir, we did not hold any shows. We had bookings up to 30 April 2020, with daily two or three shows.” He added that people who had pre-booked or reserved their tickets for the shows have also been given their refunds.
Weekends in Pune see a lot of people preferring to eat out either with their family or friends and most of the hotels on Jungli Maharaj Road, Fergusson College road, Deccan are known for having a minimum waiting time of half an hour to an hour, are due to the COVID- 19, wore a deserted look. There were plenty of empty tables, although most of the tables sported a hand sanitizer. Many popular restaurants and youth hotspots on Fergusson College Road besides other parts saw sharply reduced footfalls.
According to Ganesh Shetty, president, Pune Restaurants and hoteliers Association (PRAHA), the occupancy had dropped to 15-20 per cent in most of the restaurants around the city, but home deliveries had increased by 10 per cent with people preferring to order food home,” said Shetty.
PRAHA has also released an advisory and protocol for the staff of all their member restaurants which highlight the importance of maintaining the hygiene and safety of both the staff and patrons.
Many of the restaurants have decided to post signs that show the protocol to maintain hygiene- covering coughs and sneezes, and washing hands frequently with warm soapy water for a minimum of 20 seconds at workplace wash areas, restrooms, employee wash rooms and also to remind people to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.