Coronavirus | Shops at Chennai’s Ritchie Street flout all norms

Stepping into a hotspot: Customers continue to flock to Ritchie Street without adhering to safety norms.

Stepping into a hotspot: Customers continue to flock to Ritchie Street without adhering to safety norms.  

Many shops on Ritchie Street, Chennai’s famous electronics market, are flouting all COVID-19 norms: they do not maintain physical distancing, fail to check the temperature of customers and also don’t provide sanitisers to them. And some are seen walking without a mask.

On Saturday, many shops on Wallers Road had a few customers standing close to each other. The average size of most shops here are between 100 sq.ft-300 sq ft. “Today being a Saturday the footfall is high and we can’t afford to wait until each person gets a temperature check. We will lose the customer to a nearby shop,” said a shop owner.

A few shops on Ritchie Street are also not following the guidelines given by the association.

When the market re-opened, the associations had clearly said that only alternate shops should be kept open.

All shops were marked with a red and green label with numbers 1 and 2 printed on them for this purpose. But in the last few days and specifically on Saturday, shops with red and green labels were kept open in many roads. Another shop owner here, who had a red label pasted on his outlet, said, “Opening shops on alternate days is really not helping us. We need to pay rent and salaries. If we close down for one day it means a huge loss,” he said. His immediate neighbour, who had a green label, also kept his shop open. He said, “On Sunday, it is total lockdown and many customers come here during Saturdays. So I have been opening my shop on all days,” he said. A shop onwer on Narasingapuram Street said traders from Burma Bazaar and other zones were allowed to sell their products here (like a shop-in-shop). “These traders are asking their clients to come to Ritchie Street and pick up consignments. That’s one reason why there are so many vehicles and crowds on the main road,” he said.

R. Chandalia, secretary, Chennai Electronics and Infotech Traders Association, said he had not received any complaint so far and safety measures were being taken.

Mukesh Khubchandani, president of All India Electronics Association, Chennai, said: “We are not allowing any vehicles inside the market.From time to time, we visit the shops and ensuring that social distancing is in place.”

Ritchie Street, which covers Narasingapuram Street, Wallers Street, Meeran Sahib Street, Mohammed Hussain Sahib Street and Guruappa Road is the second largest market for electronics in India after Nehru Palace in New Delhi.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 2:08:15 PM |

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