In spite of the partial curfew from 12 pm to 6 am imposed by the government to contain the spread of coronavirus, heavy crowds are seen at Rythu bazaars, meat shops and wine shops during the relaxed period, defeating the very purpose of the prohibitory orders. The city police personnel are finding it difficult to execute the market time restrictions in the city as buyers appear reluctant to leave even if the shops are trying to close down following the government order.
Malls, supermarkets, retails outlets are doing brisk business as many are indulging in panic buying. Buying in bulk quantities of rice, wheat flour, pulses and daily essentials is becoming the norm during these times. Even though the district administration officials cautioning the people to refrain from panic buying, they continue to indulge in it. Due to this, several stores are being crowded most of the time during the day. For tipplers, nowadays it is a tough task to throng the wine shops as soon as they wake up. Social distancing norms are going for a toss in ATMs and Banks. Everyone is barging into the banks to get their transaction done as the working hours have shrunk.
With heavy rush pouring in between 7.30 am to 11.30 am in the local markets, the police are struggling to discipline the buyers. In spite of repeated announcements through the public address system to make aware of the market timings, many people are still reluctant to leave making pleas for their last-minute shopping.
The state government has restricted the market timings between 6 am and 12 am. Every day, police officials were seen making announcements at various market places to close out shops, but sometimes people who come to buy do not care about the time. A shopkeeper who runs a grocery store in Sankaramatam road said “If someone is at our shop, it is difficult to say that we are closing.”
The average footfall at Poorna market, Eenadu, Akkayyapelm, MVP colony, and at Gajuwaka markets has decreased but it is still taking the shops a little more than the restricted timings to down the shutters because buyers are crowding the markets. With shops and market places remain open from 6 AM to 12 PM, the number of customers has increased drastically in the morning, said a vegetable seller in the Narasimha Nagar area.
In some places, police officers said there have been instances where people have argued that the market timings were too. Some retired bureaucrats are of the opinion that staggered timings can be best suited to reduce the crowd at the markets and to discourage people from stepping out of their homes for things that could be obtained online as well.