Social distancing now a distant dream as Puneities throng for Diwali shopping
Pune: A security guard with a face shield screened every visitor who entered a popular saree shop at Pune's Laxmi Road with a thermal scanner. Apart from the visitors, he also checked limited number of clients while diligently keeping count on a register.
Inside, a few people pulled their masks down to their chin as they scanned through the shelves and bargained over price. Outside, a big crowd lined up waiting for their turn to step inside.
Walking through Tulshibaug, on a narrow roadway outside, people jostled for space with those waiting outside a nearby cosmetic shop. Meanwhile, curious buyers surrounded more than a dozen street vendors in the vicinity. Tossing the compulsory COVID-19 safety protocols to the wind, people thronged the key shopping streets in the city in large numbers on Sunday, for Diwali shopping.
People in Pune flouted social distancing norms while shopping for the festival of lights. Several people were seen venturing out without face masks, while social distancing was flouted at a large extent.
There has been a surge in the number of shoppers in areas such as Laxmi Road, Tilak Road, Kelkar Road, Bajirao Road, Shivaji Road for the last few days to buy clothes. Being a Sunday, shoppers made a beeline to visit their favourite outlines. With thousands of people thronging Tulshibaug and Laxmi Road, considered as a shoppers' paradise, there wasn't enough space to move about.
While a few shops allowed customers in after screening with thermal scanners, the rolling crowd made the process unrealistic in several other shops. Many of them did not exercise attention to maintain distance even while buying clothes in the showrooms.
Sheetal Jadhav, Assistant Inspector of Police, Faraskhana Traffic Department said, "Traffic is on the rise due to Diwali festival, as many people are out shopping. However, with more traffic police personnel deployed, we are managing the traffic here. People are requested not to park their vehicles in no-parking zones or at crowded places."
"Considering the traffic congestion in the last two-three days, Faraskhana, Vishrambag and Khadak Police stations' traffic department will jointly propose a new plan. There will be planning in terms of which areas will be barricaded, parking zones, traffic regulation and other issues," she added.