Festive fervour: Customers back to Laxmi Road, Tulshibaug for Diwali shopping

Laxmi Road, Tilak Road, Tulshibaug has managed to maintain a separate fan base
Festive shopping has made a comeback with caution
Festive shopping has made a comeback with cautionImage by: Sushil Rathod

Pune: People on Sunday thronged the local markets in Pune with the onset of the festival season amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Pune's Laxmi Road, Tulshibaug are known as one of the busiest shopping lanes, and since the outbreak in the city, people have been cautious of stepping outside their homes. However, after seven months during the current festive period, customers were seen stepping out for shopping.

"We are taking all the preventive measures as I would like to believe that we'll have to live with this outbreak now for the next six months," a customer said. "We are wearing masks, carrying sanitisers wherever we are travelling. I think we will gradually get used to the new normal with time," another customer explained.

The traders at Tulshibaug, Laxmi Road amid the gloom were pleasantly occupied with the flock of customers as they didn't expect the flow of business during Diwali. "The crowd is moderately less this year due to the pandemic. Usually, you don't have a place to stand in this area, but this time around, people are scared," a shop owner here who wished to remain unnamed said.

Even after the mall culture has taken over, Laxmi Road, Tilak Road, Tulshibaug has managed to maintain a separate fan base and the city folk still visit the area owing to its attraction and the sheer variety.

The bustling market had been bereaved of customers over the last few months amid the lockdown, but with Diwali only 10 days from now, Punekars are prepping up for the shopping. There is a visible buzz in the markets now, though traders worry about the low sale on the weekend. Many traders are hopeful that business will improve in the coming week.

Mahendra Pitaliya, Secretary, Federation of Trade Associations of Pune (FTAP) said, "We have already given strict orders to all shopkeepers that no customer should be allowed to enter if he or she is without a mask. Sanitiser stands are installed at almost all places as well as temperature checks are regularly conducted at every shop."

"We hope that business will be back on track this week. We request customers to cooperate with all shopkeepers and avoid over-crowding," he informed.

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