Coronavirus in Mumbai: City grinds to halt

Mumbai: Mumbai is known as the city that never sleeps. But Mumbaikars will have to struggle a lot to brace for the lockdown due to mounting threat of local and community transmission of the coronavirus. The maximum city will come to a grinding halt soon.

Even though the government has spared grocery shops and vegetable providers, Mumbaikars may have to queue up to stock their food grains and other items from D Mart and other such outlets. Malls, cinemas and drama theatres, gyms, bars and restaurants were also closed down. However, the government has also spared the ordering of food through takeaways or home service.

Further, non-vegetarians will have to strive hard to buy mutton, chicken and fish as vendors will be closed or if some continue to operate, they will not be able to meet the demand.

The government had repeatedly warned that it will have to take a harsh decision if citizens fail to comply with directives on social distancing and avoid unnecessary gathering in the public transport. With today’s announcement nearly 75 lakh rail commuters, 37 BEST passengers and 3.5 lakh Metro passengers will have to stay home as the section 144 has been imposed.

However, nearly 42 lakh ration card holders can continue to get rice and wheat from 4,200 fair price shops situated in Greater Mumbai. The department of food and civil supplies has already taken a decision to provide in advance two months of wheat and rice to avoid their inconvenience. Nearly 3.40 lakh quintal of rice and wheat are distributed per month through these fair price shops.

However, there are more than 20,000 wholesalers in garments and non-garments located in the city and suburbs and also a large number of retailers who will have to take a hit due to lock down. Traders were busy closing their accounts before March 31 but they will have to seek further time from the government to complete this exercise.

Tourism experts observe that the shut down will hit the sector as nearly 30lakh foreign and more than 3 crore domestic tourists visit Mumbai annually. March, April and May are peak seasons. If the shut down continues beyond March 31 the tourism industry and tour operators will suffer heavily.

Although 135 petrol pumps in Greater Mumbai will operate from 7 am to 7 pm from Monday.

The pump operators expect fall in their sales. On an average daily petrol sale is 5,000 to 15,000 litre and 7,000 litre to 25,000 litre of diesel sale depending on the location of petrol pumps across the city.

However, Mumbaikars also known for their spirit to face any challenge will have to strictly adhere to government advisories as anyone breaking the rules could face punitive action.

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Free Press Journal