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Circles outside Maha shops, a novel idea on social distancing

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

Inspired by photos outside a mall in China where the management drew circles on the floor to maintain social distancing to curb coronavirus spread, people in parts of Maharashtra have started implementing the same.

The idea is proving a healthy option for people who come out of their homes to purchase groceries and vegetables during the lockdown ordered to facilitate social distancing as part of measures to arrest the march of the killer virus.

Circles and squares, drawn with safe distance separating them, indicate the spot where people should stand and wait for their turn to make purchases.

Some towns such as Panhala, Ajara and a village called Pulachi Shiroli in Kolhapur district have started implementing the "novel" social distancing idea since Tuesday evening.

Ranjit Chougule, a resident of Pulachi Shiroli village near Kolhapur city said, "When I saw the photos of the China all, I was at first amused and thought those people were being crazy.

"After some time, I realised that it is a useful idea as social distancing will be maintained as well as people will get groceries and other essential services.

"I discussed it with friends and showed it to local shop owners, who after some deliberations decided to go for it.

"We used white colour to mark circles and/or squares on the road at a distance of over three feet between each marking. People were asked to stand as per the markings and soon they were also comfortable with it," he said.

local police official confirmed the development.

"We were not sure how people would react to it, but it seems the idea is working. Now people don't panic while buying vegetables and groceries and it has reduced our burden on vendors and stalls as well," the official said.

An official from the Maharashtra Chief Minister's Office on Wednesday said the government has started pushing the concept across the state by sharing photos of such social distancing practices across the state.

"We have so far received photographs from Kolhapur, Nanded and from Talegaon Dabhade town near Pune where people have drawn circles or squares on the street in vegetable markets as well as outside the grocery shops.

"People are following the guidelines by standing in a queue and are also maintaining the required distance," the official said.

The markings for social distancing are also being followed in Mumbai and Nashik.

Grocery shops in Mumbai's suburbs of Andheri and Matunga have been operational with squares drawn outside their outlets.

Local police officials are personally monitoring such shops so that people don't not rush and crowd the place.

Nashik Municipal Corporation officials were seen drawing similar markings on streets in a vegetable market.

"The idea is useful and we want to implement it here as well. We are hopeful of people strictly following it so that the norm of social distancing is maintained and people are able to buy essential items without any hassle," an official of the Nashik civic body said.

With 112 confirmed cases so far, Maharashtra tops the COVID-19 patients' tally in the country.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, March 25 2020. 21:22 IST