Hundreds of shoppers thronged the city’s central business hub – around the Rockfort and NSB Road on Sunday – ignoring the government’s advisory to avoid crowding as a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19.
Since Saturday morning, the market area saw a steady stream of shoppers to make purchases for the Deepavali festival. Scores of vendors, who had arranged their products, including clothing, jewellery, footwear and food items along Singarathope, Big Bazaar Street, NSB Road and Nandhi Koil Street drew shoppers looking for a good bargain.
While vendors were apprehensive about the sales following the pandemic and its economic impact, they were relieved to see customers turn up in large numbers. “We did not expect such a turnout. With Deepavali falling in the second week, many would have received salaries this week and would have brought their families to shop for the festival.
The surging crowds also caused traffic to remain at a standstill in front of Mainguard Gate, Chathram Bus Stand, Salai Road and Singarathope. While traffic policemen were posted at various important junctions and a temporary police beat, with a mic system arranged at the corner of NSB Road, the public threw caution to the wind. “We have been shouting on the mic asking the public to wear masks but many are ignorant,” a policeman said.