Noida: Shoppers back in markets, e-rickshaws back on roads as life limps back to normalcyUpdated: Jun 01, 2020 23:45 IST
With more relaxations in the nationwide lockdown being announced on Monday, life is slowly bouncing back to normal as people return to markets, e-rickshaws and autos start ferrying passengers and vehicular traffic returns to what it used to be during a weekday before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country.
As the curfew timings were changed from 7pm to 7am to 9pm to 5am, markets are remaining open for two extra hours. Traders say that while a complete restoration of business may still take a while longer, the fresh timings will be helpful in regaining some of the lost business.
“The markets are allowed to be open from 9am to 9pm, as per the government orders,” said Suhas LY, district magistrate, Gautam Budh Nagar.
However, confusion over the odd-even pattern system for shops to open in markets prevailed among many.
“The businessmen had been asked to remain patient, and we know that the recovery of the losses will take time. But now since the curfew timings have been reduced, it will be easy for our shoppers to visit markets in the evening and not brave the daytime temperatures. In a way, we can say this is a prelude of normalcy,” said Sushil Kumar Jain, president, Sector 18 market association.
While certain enterprises such as saloons, parlours and malls are yet to open, shopkeepers are now being extra cautious about maintaining social distancing and allowing only limited people inside stores or at cash counters at a time.
“On Monday, more shops have opened, and people have also started coming out. We see the maximum crowd towards the evening, so we have to ensure that no more than four customers enter the store at a time. People are cooperative and are ensuring social distancing,” Gauri Shankar, a general store owner in Sector 77, said.
“More and more people are returning to the market, however their demand is specifi -- most of our customers are demanding dumbbells and other gym equipment believing that gyms will be the last to open,” said a sport shop owner in Sector 18.
At Rajnigandha Chowk, near Sector 16, a number of e-rickshaws were seen carrying a maximum of three passengers unlike days prior to the lockdown clampdown on March 25, when they would ferry at least five to six at a time.
“There is no pressure and we have not been told anything, but people are themselves insisting on not carrying more than three passengers at a time, otherwise we would take at least five passengers,” said Lalit Kumar, an e-rickshaw driver.
Roadside ice-cream vendors, nurseries, clay goods sellers, furniture sellers, etc., near Brahmputra Market in Sector 29, Bhangel, and Sector 51, among others, have also started setting up shops after over 60 days. The auto market in Sector 16 is also largely operational.
“Monday seemed like any other day, as the number of customers were what it used to be during a normal day before lockdown. We serviced many cars, wheels alignment and tyre changes. There are more and more customers whose cars need servicing,” said Vishal Dang, who owns a tyre and auto repairs shop in Hoshiyarpur, Sector 51.
A few roadside eateries and dhabas also started operations from Monday, though the day was not promising for them.
“We have had only three customers since morning and they were all non-locals -- factory workers and such. We only have takeaways for now,” said Dharmendra Yadav, who owned a popular dhaba in Sector 51.
With the crowds gathering strength, police are also more vigilant. “There are personnel at all those places where there is possibility of crowding and we are ensuring social distancing,” said Sankalp Sharma, DCP Zone 1.