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People throng markets without following social distancing norms in Kashmir

Don’t come out unnecessarily & without wearing masks: Div Com

SRINAGAR, July 29: After remaining closed for six days, markets in Srinagar opened on Wednesday with people seen not following social distancing norms. Government on Wednesday eased out restrictions ahead of Eid-ul-Azha. However, what was seen, no social distancing was being maintained in markets especially in Srinagar’s Lal Chowk. “This is pathetic to see such a large number of people shopping. Some are even not wearing masks. I came out to purchase medicines for my ailing father but no social distance norms are being followed,” Shahid Ahmad, a resident of Batamaloo said. In Srinagar’s Gonikhan market, hundreds of people, especially females were seen shopping without maintaining any social distance. Customers were seen moving from one shop to another without following the social distancing norms. Most of the shops were over-crowded. “This is scary to walk through Gonikhan market. Government eased out restrictions so people purchase essential items for Eid. But people are thronging markets unnecessarily,” said Rafiya Bano, a resident of Dalgate. “People are thronging markets without following norms which is a matter of grave concern,” said a shopkeeper at Batamaloo. He said it was important to underline the importance of strictly following the COVID protocols. Some shopkeepers have arranged sanitisers so that customers would disinfect their hands before purchasing. Hundreds of people could be seen on the streets or on Boulevard along the banks of Dal Lake without wearing masks or maintaining social distance. This is despite authorities having announced that wearing masks was mandatory in all public places. “Looks hundreds of vendors are selling barbecues and fried fish on the banks of Dal Lake. Neither these sellers nor customers are wearing masks. I do wear a mask to protect myself but it won’t make any difference as less than 10 percent of people are wearing masks,” Imran Ahmad, a resident of Nishat. He said the government should take strict measures to ensure people wear masks. “If wearing a mask has been made mandatory they are why law enforcing agencies are not implementing these guidelines. Why don’t they fine those who are not following COVID guidelines,” he asked. Divisional Commissioner Kashmir P K Pole said it was mandatory to wear masks. “People should not come out of their homes without wearing masks. They should properly cover their mouth and nose. If people don’t wear masks, they will infect others,” he said. The government advisory has exhorted upon the people not to step out of home, unless absolutely necessary. “If you have to move out for unavoidable reasons, ensure that you wear a mask and practice social distancing, personal hygiene and frequent hand washing with soap and water,” it reads.(KINS)

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