City markets, malls reopen to lukewarm response

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Social distancing markers in place; shopkeepers hope for footfall to pick up soon

Shopping malls and markets reopened in the Capital on Monday on an odd-even basis after nearly two months of lockdown.

Sanitiser dispensers and markers for social distancing were in place as shopkeepers raised shutters with a hope to make their first sale after a long spell of no income. While most markets and malls bore a deserted look, few shoppers started trickling in from noon.

At the Select City Walk mall in Saket, most shops reopened but some, including a few food joints, continued to have their shutters down.

Sumit Agarwal, a shopper at the mall, said, “The last two months had been very long and stressful. Staying at home and constantly receiving terrible news had become too much to bear. Now that the malls have reopened, we can still think of stepping out in a restricted manner. I thought of visiting the mall today for some respite before it starts getting crowded.”

An employee at an outlet selling cosmetics said, “We have a sanitiser dispenser in place which the customers have to use before entering the store. It is all the more imperative now as multiple customers touch the same products before buying.”

Vandana Singh, another shopper, said, “I had to buy a few things for my six year old daughter and so I thought it would be a good idea to visit the mall in the first few hours before the rush hour begins.”

At the Sarojini Nagar market, while the hawkers stayed away, the shops opened on odd-even basis. Manoj Bajaj, a shopkeeper, said, “We will be opening on alternate days. The circles have been marked outside the shop to ensure people maintain social distancing. Only two people will be permitted inside our shop at any given point.”

Odd-even confusion

Brijesh Goyal, chairman of Chamber of Trade and Industry, said there were some doubts about the odd-even rule in old Delhi markets such as Chandni Chowk, Kashmere Gate, Chawri Bazar and Sadar Bazar because there are many shops with the same number. “We told the shopkeepers to mark the shops at their level and allot numbers,” he said.

(With inputs from PTI)


This article was originally published on The Hindu