Downtown Cares Chennai

With some public spaces out of bounds in Chennai, morning walkers are tweaking their walking chart

Photo: M. Vedhan

Photo: M. Vedhan  

A majority of the members of East Coast Beach Walkers’ Association (ECBWA) are senior citizens, and the visit to the Thiruvanmiyur Beach characterises a huge of part of their daily routine. Many of them need this walk to fight certain medical conditions and stay healthy. The fitness walks they on go on, in the morning and evening refresh their mind, as they have healthy conversations. As social distancing being the battle cry, and there has been a government directive not to gather at beaches and other public places, most of the Association members are staying away from the beach sands which is just a hop, skip and a jump away from home for most of them.

T. Arunachalam, secretary, East Coast Beach Walkers Association, says, “As part of safety measures, there is a considerable drop in fitness walkers at the beach. Walkers in our Association know what is at stake -- as many of them have some medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and asthma they want to take the utmost precaution and stay away from the beach. Even those walkers who head to the beach maintain a good distance between each other, while walking on the beach sands.”

Arunachalam continues, “Many members of the Association would head to the beach to have the cowebs of the mind cleared, by having a friendly chat with their friends, Now, they are content having those conversations on the phone.”

East Coast Beach Walkers’ Association has put out an advisory on how to stay safe from the Coronavirus, at the Thiruvanmiyur beach.

First the parks close, and then the playgrounds

As part of the social-distancing strategy to check the spread of the new Coronavirus, the Greater Chennai Corporation issued a directive, closing down the parks within its limits from March 18. Following this move, in certain parts of the city, especially the extended areas, including Ambattur, Mogappair and Thirumullavoyal, there were reports of morning walkers moving to playgrounds for their fitness walks. However, this was short-lived.

On March 20, GCC shut down all the playgrounds within its limits covering all the 200 wards in 15 zones. Field level civic officials were instructed to lock all playgrounds until further orders from the government. “Local civic officials locked the playground in TVS Colony Main Road today morning (Friday) after asking visitors to leave the facility, which is maintained by the Corporation,” says V. Rajagopal, president, Anna Nagar Western Extension Phase - II Residents Welfare Association. It is said that when fitness walkers shifted to playgrounds, some residents’ associations raised the matter with local civic officials.

Disappointed that even playgrounds were out of bounds for them, started having their daily walks on arterial roads. At Nolambur, 2nd Main Road and Mogapppar West in particular, a number of people were seen walking on roads.

They miss the Marina

Morning walkers to the Marina beach seem to be badly missing their routine.

Reportedly, a huge number of them were seen at the beach on March 21 — some passers-by took to Twitter to express their displeasure over what they saw, and sought that severe restrictions be imposed so that people would not throng the Marina.

A few even tagged the Prime Minister’s office; some tagged the Tamil Nadu Health Minister.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 10:22:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/change-in-routine/article31128513.ece

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