Mumbai: With the state government hinting at another lockdown to break the chain of virus transmission, Mumbaikars went into panic mode on Monday and set off on a shopping spree, stocking up on essentials.
From Monday afternoon, Mumbaikars were seen queueing up outside department stores to stock up on necessities. Even though the footfall was not as intense as in the last year, there was panic, as many hadn't expected the government would impose a complete lockdown.
“Due to the weekend lockdown, everything remained shut. Now, we have come to buy goods after shops reopened on Monday,” said Satish Tiwari, a chartered accountant and resident of Malad.
“Until yesterday, we were unsure whether there would be a full lockdown or not, but we don't want to risk anything, so we are stocking up as much as we can,” said Aman Sharma, an entrepreneur.
Not just dry foods and snacks, Mumbaikars have begun to stock up on staples like eggs, cereal, rice and pulses. Mumbaikars said that most of their family members are now working from home and many of those living in different cities have also returned due to the surge in cases, so there is need for more than usual.
"Usually, only my wife and I live in Mumbai, but now our son and his family have returned from Bengaluru, which is why we need to buy more,” said Peter D'Mello, a retired government employee, who had come to shop with his son.
“Even if things open again after two weeks, we cannot sure there will be enough stock, which is why we are getting whatever we can now,” said Archana Singh a homemaker.
Mumbaikars also said that the state government's decision to impose a phased lockdown, has given them time to plan. “Unlike the last time, the decision didn't come suddenly, the state had been hinting a complete lockdown since last week, this indeed is a smart move,” said Vinayak Gupte, a retired banker and Kandivli resident.
“We don't have any idea for how long the lockdown will go on, as cases are rising rapidly so it’s better to stock up things for a month at least,” said another citizen, requesting anonymity.
Shopkeepers and employees at department stores also felt that the phase-wise planning of the state government had helped them stock up enough goods last week. But they are apprehensive that a total lockdown may affect the supply chain, like last time.
“Since last week we have been transferring large quantities of goods into local godowns in Mumbai, as our goods are stored in warehouses outside the city limits,” said the manager of a department store.
“Even though there is a huge rush of shoppers, they seem to be a bit more disciplined this time, which was not the case last time,” said a store employee.
Meanwhile, many residents of housing societies have adopted a smarter way to deal with last-minute shopping, smarter after last year's crisis. “Instead of visiting stores outside, we have contacted suppliers who will be supplying us products as per our demand, at our doorstep,” said Rakesh Dwivedi, resident and treasurer of Excelsior Towers, Borivli.
Online shopping is another avenue to bring home essentials, said residents and resident groups.
“In the last one year, people have gained experience and now know how to deal with such an emergency situation. Many have already started to stock up goods since last week, ordering products online,” said Dinesh Ahuja, a Kandivli resident.