According to a Corporation official, field officials were instructed to strictly monitor shops, especially textile and jewellery shops. “We have been ordered to conduct regular inspections at the commercial establishments for the next four to five days. This is due to the several shops violating protocols and allowing a large number of customers to enter the premises,” a sanitary inspector said.
The sanitary inspector added that they are visiting such establishments twice a day during the morning and evening hours.
“We are requesting the people to avoid crowding during the pandemic. The cases are coming down now but people should not be careless during the festival season. Also, local bodies in the State have been asked to ensure that norms are followed and take action if they find any violations,” said Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan.
Even as he announced extension of time for keeping shops open, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Wednesday urged the public to wear masks and maintain minimum distance from each other.
Dr Prabhdeep Kaur, Deputy Director of the National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE), Chennai, and a member of the State panel of experts advising the government on tackling the pandemic, warned the city residents against going back to the old ways of celebrating festivals and shopping. “This year, just focus on staying alive. For now, wear masks, watch the distance and avoid closed spaces,” she said in a social media post. The result of loosening grip was evident in Kerala where the recent spike in cases by more than 10 times was blamed on Onam festivities.
The State government is also creating awareness among shop owners and conducting meetings with traders’ associations.
Meanwhile, the civic body has collected Rs 2.81 crore from residents and shop owners for violating norms on social distancing and wearing masks while in public spaces. On Tuesday alone, the civic body collected Rs 4.25 lakh as penalty.