Market associations told to be innovative in crowd control

Bhubaneswar: The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Saturday instructed all market associations and shopkeepers under its jurisdiction to strictly follow COVID-19 guidelines and ensure their customers follow the same while coming to their stores for buying goods.

The Civic Body has also asked the shopkeepers that they shouldn’t entertain a customer, if he or she doesn’t obey the rules such as maintaining enough social distance or not wearing masks.

The BMC has laid emphasis on scaling up the precautionary measures after a meeting was held with all market associations’ representatives this morning under the chairmanship of BMC Commissioner Prem Chandra Chaudhary, and in presence of Police Commissioner Dr Sudhanshu Sarangi, Covid-19 observers Anu Garg and Dr. N Tirumala Nayak.

Saying chances of COVID-19 infection can be reduced significantly in the city if both the shopkeepers and customers strictly follow Govt guidelines, BMC Commissioner said there will be strict enforcement and heavy penalty on roadside eateries and fast-food shops they don’t discourage people eating on streets and encourage takeaways instead.

“Takeaways to be encouraged instead of dine-in. Keeping the overall health of public in mind, we have taken this decision,” Chaudhary explained.

Similarly, Police Commissioner Dr Sudhanshu Sarangi has advised the representatives of several market associations to be innovative and come up with new idea on how business activity can be continued with strict adherence of COVID-19 guidelines by customers.

“Market association representative can think of several ways such as restructuring of markets or creating a holding area or waiting zone in front of a big store or outlet to regulate the crowd during this pandemic to control the spread of infection among public,” Sarangi advised.

This apart, the Civic Body has also urged the market association representatives to break away from traditional way of managing markets, crowd and adopt some innovative and best practices in terms of handling customers, maintaining hygiene inside the markets, which can set examples and become a model for others.

Anu Garg too stressed strict adherence of COVID-19 guidelines by both shopkeepers and customers to control the spread of coronavirus infection in the city.

“Each market association has to ensure the COVID-19 rules are strictly being followed in their market. And, shopkeepers should not entertain customers if they found not wearing masks and maintain enough social distancing,” said Garg.

Likewise, Labour Commissioner and Bhubaneswar COVID Observer Dr N. Thirumala Naik said all shopkeepers should and must tell their customers to maintain social distancing and wearing masks while coming to their stores to purchase anything.

The market association representatives have welcomed the decisions and measures advised by the Civic Body in order ensure strict adherence of COVID-19 guidelines in their respective markets. They also talked about the issues they are facing.

“The meeting was really good and extremely important. We have told our all shopkeepers to strictly follow the government rules regarding COVID-19 as advised by BMC today. We will implement no masks, no goods and no social distancing, no good to customers rule in our market,” said Gayadhara Swain, President of Unit – 1 Market Association.

He also urged the BMC officials to be stricter and impose heavy penalty on some unruly customers who never follow rules despite repeated warning by shopkeepers in markets.