Chennai

Safety guidelines go for a toss as crowds throng T. Nagar

Reckless act: Festival shoppers seen on Ranganathan Street in T. Nagar on Wednesday.  

Despite several warnings, the public as well as business houses continue to ignore norms, including wearing masks and maintaining physical distance at T. Nagar, the main shopping hub in the city.

While big shops in the locality are now strictly keeping a tab on visiting customers by checking temperature and advising them not to take off their masks, the smaller ones are yet to get their act together.

“After a popular textile chain was sealed, many shops have become alert and are strict about the number of people who are allowed in,” a textile shop owner in Pondy Bazaar said.

“But with the festival season around the corner, it is highly impossible to restrict the crowds. We have received instructions from the police to restrict the number of people on each floor — if we do that we will end up losing business as well as regular clients,” he said. Several retailers echoed the opinion.

Another retailer on Usman Road pointed out that the Greater Chennai Corporation said those who violated safety norms would be fined, but monitoring was lax and people had become lethargic. “The Corporation teams need to be more vigilant at least during the festival season. They should deploy volunteers. Only then will the public follow rules,” he noted.

Shop owners here said the crowds would increase once suburban trains resumed operations.

Many without masks

On Saturday, many people who came to shop in the afternoon never maintained physical distancing; many were standing outside shops without wearing masks. Arunachalam, a shopper, said, “With no air conditioning in many buildings, it is suffocating to wear a mask all the time.”

On Saturday evening, Additional Commissioner of Police, South, R. Dhinakaran, accompanied by Joint Commissioner of Police A.G. Babu and Deputy Commissioner of Police, T. Nagar, D.N. Hari Kiran Prasad, went around the busy shopping spots in T. Nagar and reviewed arrangements to ensure that all COVID-19 safety norms were being adhered to.

Mr. Dhinakaran said shopkeepers had been asked to follow the norms that were suggested to them. “We have asked them to permit customers in a phased manner. Only 50 customers will be allowed at a time on a floor. They can issue tokens to avoid crowding. The shop owners have agreed to our suggestions,” he said.

Barricades have been placed on Ranganathan Street, and shopkeepers have been asked not to display signboards or put up stalls on the street to avoid congestion and the allow free movement of shoppers.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2020 12:24:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/safety-guidelines-go-for-a-toss-as-crowds-throng-t-nagar/article32938684.ece

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