A semblance of normality returned to Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital, on Saturday as the administration allowed 50% opening of shops after 83 days of lockdown enforced to contain coronaviru s ( COVID-19 ).
Shoppers rushed to Nowhatta, Kukar Bazaar and Lal Chowk, the city’s main markets. The police were monitoring the adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs), including wearing of masks and maintaining of physical distance.
“I have come to buy toys and self-reading material for my children. It has been tough for them to stay within the confines of home for almost three months,” said Sajida Khan, a shopper, at Nowhatta. The Srinagar administration has come up with a calendar for shopkeepers to open phase-wise and sector-wise during ‘Unlock I’. “We are running short of cash now. We would sell goods and earn daily and the money ran the family. But it has been so many days without any business,” said Nazir Ahmad, a crockery shop owner, at Kukar Bazaar.
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Restaurant owners have welcomed the government’s decision to allow takeaways in the first phase. “It is a considerate decision to allow takeaways. The restaurant and cafe owners are duty-bound to follow COVID-19 guidelines. People should realise that economic activities are important, but they should not spread the virus,” said Jammu and Kashmir Hotelier Club member Tariq Ghani.
He urged Deputy Commissioner Shahif Iqbal Choudhary “to take immediate steps for reopening of hotels so that tourism starts as the earliest”.