Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) on Friday, passed orders for the immediate closure of multistorey shops in Chennai’s T Nagar area indefinitely until further notice. Speaking to TNM, Regional Deputy Commissioner of central Chennai Sridhar says, “We have asked the big multistorey shops to close down. Only one or two opened and we have asked them to close because we won’t be able to maintain physical distancing. For now, the individual smaller shops are open. We are yet to receive complete guidelines."
GCC authorities, upon inspecting these shops on Friday found out that the physical distancing norms were not adhered to both by shop-keepers and the public and sanitisers were not provided to customers who walked in as already instructed. Therefore, these shops, located in one of Chennai’s most bustling shopping areas, were ordered to down their shutters by 3.00 pm on Friday afternoon.
Based on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s relaxation of lockdown norms for 34 different types of establishments issued on May 10, several such shops across Chennai and the rest of Tamil Nadu began functioning even while lockdown was still in place. This list included household appliance showrooms, electrical, electronics and mobile service centres, photocopying places, small jewellery and textile shops (without air conditioning), furniture shops, dry cleaners and the likes.
One of the biggest clusters in Tamil Nadu was due to a wholesale market functioning without following physical distancing norms. Kodambakkam (zone 10) has reported 1,646 COVID-19 cases so far. The zone currently has 693 active COVID-19 cases with 999 discharged and eight deceased. Kodambakkam began reporting a spike in its numbers soon after the identification of the Koyambedu wholesale market cluster. This zone has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the city, after Royapuram (zone five).
Earlier in March, at least 10 days before the lockdown was announced, the big establishments that receive major footfall in Chennai’s bustling T Nagar area were ordered to close by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister. This was done soon after the malls, theatres, schools and colleges, public parks and other areas where mass gathering of people was common were asked to close in the state in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic.