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Covid-19: Delhi markets to enforce mask mandate amid rapid surge in Covid cases


Just as Delhi witnesses a sudden hike in the number of Covid-19 cases, shopkeepers in the national capital are reportedly ensuring that people coming to the markets wear masks and maintain physical distance. However, doing so has not been without difficulties, as the traders complain that people are becoming complacent and not following protocols, news agency PTI reported.

This development comes following the Delhi government recently reiterating that wearing masks in public places is mandatory and a fine of 500 is to be imposed on violators, the traders are concerned that if cases continue to rise, restrictions will be imposed on markets, which are still reeling under the compound effect of inflation and multiple covid waves.

Additionally, the national capital on Thursday reported 2,726 fresh Covid-19 cases, the highest in nearly seven months, according to health department data and markets are the first ones to be impacted because of restrictions. Ashok Randhawa, president of Mini Market Association, Sarojini Nagar said that traders have started taking precautions by pasting posters outside their establishments telling customers about the mask mandate, the PTI report said.

“Traders had also stopped wearing masks, but today, I checked all were wearing masks. We are asking customers politely to wear a mask but people have become complacent and we cannot force them,” Randhawa said. The association has also distributed a circular, informing traders about the mandatory precautions to be taken. They are also planning to organise a Covid vaccination camp shortly. Similarly, at Palika Bazaar, traders said that customers couldn’t care less about wearing masks, the report said.

“We regularly ask them to wear masks but people have stopped using them altogether. We cannot ask them continuously because it might impact our business. We can only advise them,” said Darshan Lal Kakkar, president of the Palika Bazaar Association. Kakkar and Randhawa both have expressed concern that the rising cases might lead to more restrictions which might again impact their business.

“Markets are still reeling under the effects of the past two years. Inflation is very high and I don’t think the business will be able to take the impact of another lockdown,” Randhawa said. As per the data, the active caseload has reached 8,840, the highest in six months. On February 6, the number of active coronavirus patients stood at 8,869, the report added.

(With inputs from PTI)

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