“Though the government allowed us to purchase essential items during the weekend, we avoided it as all the stores were crowded. In contrast, many of the shops in our locality were empty on Monday, which made it safer as there were only very few customers,” said Niranjani M, a resident from Periyar Nagar.
AM Vikramaraja, president, Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangam Peramaippu, agreed that the fall in customers on Monday was because the people managed to buy essential items over the weekend. “Almost 95 per cent of the customers followed COVID protocols. From Tuesday, we will ensure that every single customer follows social distance and wear masks. Traders have been advised to strictly follow State government guidelines.”
According to Shiva, manager at Meru Mart in Old Washermenpet, the store created an app and WhatsApp group for placing orders for grocery delivery at customers’ doorsteps to avoid crowding at the shop. “Our regular customers opted for home delivery options, but other customers keep visiting the store. We have enough stock and will function daily. So there is no need to worry or rush to the shop,” he said.
At many shops, there was no steady flow of customers on Monday compared to the past two days. There are also shops in the city that did not receive any footfall in the recent days, as the customers have moved to online shopping. Praveen Kumar, who works at a grocery store in Jafferkhanpet, said that not even a single food product was sold on Monday, as their locality was deserted due to the lockdown. If this situation continued, they would shut the store till May 24, he added.