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Guj: On 1st day of relaxed lockdown people buy non-essentials

Press Trust of India  |  Ahmedabad 

With the conditional

relaxations during the lockdown kicking in in non-containment zones of Gujarat on Tuesday, people came out to buy non- essentials, including items like paan masala, and to get their mobile phones and vehicles repaired in western Ahmedabad and other cities.

In a major relief to people affected due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown, the state government had on Monday announced several relaxations, including opening of markets and shops only in non-containment zones, from Tuesday.

The government has allowed shops and other commercial establishments in non-containment zones to remain open between 8 am and 4 pm.

While no shops, except those selling essentials, are allowed to open in the 11 containment zones in Ahmedabad covering about 12.68 lakh people, several shops reopened in western part of the city.

Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat account for the maximum coronavirus case load in Gujarat, which reported 11,746 cases and 694 deaths as on Monday.

The overall case count in Ahmedabad district stands at 8,683 with 555 deaths, the total number of cases in Surat and Vadodara stands at 1,127 and 682, respectively, a government official had said on Monday.

On Tuesday, citizens in Vadodara, Surat and Rajkot among other cities visited markets.

While Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Monday said that business and commercial establishments need to follow "odd- even" formula, wherein only 50 per cent establishments will remain open on any given day, confusion prevailed on Tuesday.

Many shops opened in western part of Ahmedabad, except those located in malls and shopping complexes.

In Ahmedabad and Surat, people came out in their own vehicles leading to traffic jams in some areas. At many places, people seemed to have least bothered about maintaining social distancing norms regarding vehicles.

Not much activity was seen in Ahmedabad' main shopping area of CG Road and those areas where most of the shops are located inside malls and shopping complexes.

In Raopura area of Vadodara, not much crowd was seen even though many shops reopened.

People queued up in large numbers outside paan-masala shops that were allowed to reopen in many parts of the state.

People lined up outside mobile stores either to get their handsets repaired or to buy accessories in western Ahmedabad. A large crowd was also seen outside vehicle repairing shops.

An owner of a paan masala shop in New CG Road in Ahmedabad said he made his customers follow social distancing norms.

"We have made arrangement for customers to strictly maintain social distancing. We sanitised our shop after opening, and have kept a large bottle of sanitiser for our customers. We are only charging regular rates though we are short on stock," he said.

A heavy rush was seen in paan-masala shops in Rajkot, prompting a shop owner to deploy bouncers to control the crowd.

An owner of a mobile phone shop said he had expected a rush of customers.

"We received several calls from people who wanted repair their mobile phones repaired. Since it was not possible during the lockdown, we expect a rush now since we have reopened our shop," he said.

Ahmedabad Mayor Bijal Patel urged people to follow the guidelines issued by the Central and state governments, and to ensure that social distancing and sanitisation is properly maintained.

"People supported us during three lockdowns. Now with the start of the fourth lockdown, we request them to follow all the guidelines. We hope people will support us in totality," Patel said.

She said people should wear masks, sanitise their hands and body, if needed, and keep themselves healthy.

"As we all know, considering the current situation, we will have to learn to live with the coronavirus. It will remain around. People should adopt to new lifestyle and check spread of the infection," she said.

Meanwhile, the Ahmedabad civic body has announced a new list of containment zones where only essential items and services have been permitted.

Khadia, Dariyapur, Shahpur, Jamalpur, Asarva, Danilimda, Behrampura, Meninagar, Saraspur, Gulbai Tekra and Gomtipur are classified as new containment zones.

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

First Published: Tue, May 19 2020. 16:15 IST