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BMC directs market associations to follow Covid-19 guidelines

Bhubaneswar: While Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) is unable to control the big spike in the number of Covid-19 cases in Bhubaneswar, it is trying all possible methods to control the spread of the infection.

In a face saving move the BMC on Saturday instructed all market associations and shopkeepers under its jurisdiction in Bhubaneswar to strictly follow COVID-19 guidelines and ensure their customers follow the same while coming to their stores for buying goods. It 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 is trying to lay 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 Sudhanshu Sarangi, Commissioner of Police, Bhubaneswar-Cuttack and Bhubaneswar Covid-19 observers, Anu Garg and N Tirumala Nayak, among other officials.

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

“Takeaways to be encouraged instead of eating at the place, keeping the overall health of public in mind, we have taken this decision,” Chaudhary explained. “Maintaining hygiene and safety is the top priority”.

Similarly, Police Commissioner 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, BMC 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, adding “they (market associations) should promote and encourage best Covid-19 management model at market places”.

Likewise, Labour Commissioner and Bhubaneswar COVID Observer 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.

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