With nightclubs closed during the COVID-19 lockdown, bouncers have found a new way to earn their livelihood. Social distancing is the key to stopping the spread of the COVID-19 and markets are known to be a high possibility for contracting the virus.Which is why bouncers are now standing guard at markets instead of being watchful and looking to keep troublemakers at bay at nightclubs.
The Tehatti Bazar Association of Kolkata in the Burrabazar area of the city has decided to engage bouncers to ensure that people wear masks and follow social distancing norms. The President of the Association said that on many occasions people had arrived at the market without wearing a mask. The association felt that since people were not paying heed to security guards, the bouncers might have a better chance at succeeding.
"People were not taking social distancing seriously. Since the security guards were aged, nobody was listening to them. So we engaged eight bouncers at a cost of Rs. 2 lakh," said Ravi Jajodia, the Head of Tehatti Bazar Association.
The effect of having bouncers is already showing, as people no longer enter the market without masks. Social distancing norms too are being maintained thanks to the bouncers who people dont appear willing to get into a tussle with. Apart from ensuring that they wear masks, the bouncers also conduct thermal screening of the people entering the market and sanitize their hands.
"This work is similar to what we did as bouncers in nightclubs to manage people, which was a challenge. Except that here it is about saving lives. People don't even wear masks," said Kamlesh who has been a bouncer for 10 years working in one of the nightclubs in Kolkata's Park Street.
Another bouncer Mohammad Saddam who has been in the profession for several years says the change in sleep patterns is a challenge. "Earlier I had to stay awake throughout the night to work, but now like other people, I stay awake during the day for work and sleep at night. Due to lack of jobs for many months, we faced a lot of difficulties due to no employment. More people should come forward and support us like this," he said.
Change is the only thing that is constant in life and bouncers are adapting to different ways to stay relevant and earn their livelihood. With no sign of nightclubs re-opening, bouncers are hopeful that, similar to the Tehatti Bazar Association, other markets too engage their colleagues to ease the pressure caused by the economic fallout of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.