Millennium Post

Markets try to enforce mask mandate amid surge in cases

New Delhi: As the national capital witnesses a sharp rise in the number of COVID cases, shopkeepers are now ensuring that people coming to the markets wear masks and maintain physical distance.

But doing so has not been without difficulties, as they complain that people are becoming complacent and not following protocols. The Delhi government recently reiterated that wearing masks in public places is mandatory and a fine of Rs 500 is to be imposed on violators.

Traders are concerned that if cases continue to rise, restrictions will be imposed on markets, which are still reeling under the compound effect of inflation and multiple covid waves.

Delhi on Thursday reported 2,726 fresh cases, the highest in nearly seven months, according to health department data. Markets are the first ones to be impacted because of restrictions.

Ashok Randhawa, president of Mini Market Association, Sarojini Nagar said that traders have started taking precautions by pasting posters outside their establishments telling customers about the mask mandate.

"Traders had also stopped wearing masks, but today, I checked all were wearing masks. We are asking customers politely to wear a mask but people have become complacent and we cannot force them," Randhawa said.

The association has also distributed a circular, informing traders about the mandatory precautions to be taken.

They are also planning to organise a COVID vaccination camp shortly. Similarly, at Palika Bazaar, traders said that customers couldn't care less about wearing masks. "We regularly ask them to wear masks but people have stopped using them altogether. We cannot ask them continuously because it might impact our business. We can only advise them," said Darshan Lal Kakkar, president of the Palika Bazaar Association.

Delhi on Friday reported 10 deaths due to COVID-19, the highest in six months, and 2,136 cases with a positivity rate of 15.02 per cent, according to data shared by the health department here. This is the 10 consecutive day when the city logged more than 2,000 cases in a day. The national capital on February 13 reported 12 deaths due to the viral disease. The fresh cases on Friday came out of 14,225 COVID-19 tests, according to the latest health bulletin. With the fresh infections and fatalities, Delhi's infection count increased to 19,80,402 and the death toll rose to 26,367.

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