With festivals round the corner the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has rolled out strict guidelines for the market areas of the city in view of the pandemic.
It may be recalled that days before Ganesh Chathurthi festival in August, Mumbaikars thronged the Dadar market area in large numbers for shopping, throwing social distancing norms to the wind. It eventually led to a spike in the number of active cases. To ensure the same mistake does not repeat itself during Dussehra and Diwali, the BMC has stated that visitors won't be allowed entry in the market premises unless they are wearing masks.
“People will need to follow the rules or they will be penalised as the pandemic is still there. Any person seen without a mask will be fined on spot and severe actions could also be taken if need arises,” said Kiran Dighavkar, assistant municipal commissioner.
He added that BMC has instructed shops and market areas to not allow customers inside, if they are not wearing masks. “Shops and market associations at the Dadar market area has put up stickers and banners citing the importance of masks. They have also maintained that customers won't be allowed inside unless they are wearing masks properly,” he said.
The COVID-19 situation in the Dadar area has improved in the past few weeks. The areas Dadar, Mahim and Dharavi fall under the G North ward which is one of the wards which has lowest infection rate and highest growth rate. Dighavkar attributed rampant fining for not wearing masks and increased testing. “We have been given targets of fining at least 100-300 people daily," said a BMC official from solid waste management department.
The Market Associations have also assured their immense cooperation with the civic body in maintaining the rules of distancing policies.
"People are bound to come at the market areas as the lockdown is no more. We have urged shopkeepers to wear masks and to monitor the health condition of their staffers regularly. In departmental stores and bigger shops, customers are allowed inside after checking their temperature and status in their Aarogya Setu app," said Mahesh Kulkarni, shop owner and member of the market association.