Though traffic on the roads was business than usual, few customers went into shops aside from grocery stores and supermarkets.

Shops inThiruvananthapuram reopens
news Lockdown Monday, May 04, 2020 - 19:50


For perhaps the first time in its history, Karims, one of the oldest textile shops in Thiruvananthapuram's Chalai market, had less than 10 customers on a Monday. “All of them had come to buy essential clothes. Obviously, we weren’t expecting good business immediately after opening,” the proprietor of the business told TNM.

The shoe chain Bata, which has a showroom in the market, had less than five customers during the entire day. “It’s a very lukewarm response from people. Many of the shops here remained closed. It may take weeks to get over all this,” said Mahesh, a staffer at the shop.

The Kerala government recently granted permission for certain shops (except single and multi brand stores) to open, following which a number of stores in Thiruvananthapuram opened their doors.

Though traffic on the roads was business than usual, few customers went into shops aside from grocery stores and supermarkets.

“Since this morning, we’ve had only two customers. But people have started coming to the markets. Some shops nearby have also had a few customers. They come with masks and some of them wore gloves as well. We have provided a hand-washing facility outside the shop and hand sanitizer at the billing counter. If there are too many customers, we ask some to wait outside,” said Vijayan, who runs a footwear shop near Palayam.

Though some customers ventured out to the shops, it was with some fear and trepidation as the COVID-19 pandemic has put countries in lockdown and forced people around the world to maintain strict social distancing.

"My 7-year-old son broke his cycle a few weeks ago. Since then, he has been crying for it. I had no other option than to get a new one. That is why I rushed on the very first day. But we have fear as well. I am really worried about going near people," Salam, a customer, said.

Meera, who wore an N95 mask, said that she had to get a new night dress.

“Other than essential goods, we have a lot of other necessities. I will quickly buy my stuff and rush home. I have no plans of hanging out,” she said.

Supermarkets like Pothys, Ramachandrans, Nilgris and Spencers saw fairly big crowds as many lined up outside the shops. However, wayside sellers and stalls had few customers.

"Nobody came today. Maybe people are scared to buy things from the roadside. Things may change eventually. These days, we were struggling to make ends meet," Rajesh, who sells caps and towels at his stall, said.

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