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Ahead of Eid, lockdown People cram City markets

LAHORE:People thronged the City markets and shopping centres violating the corona SOPs on Friday as it was the last shopping day ahead of Eidul Fitr because the government announced a complete lockdown from Saturday (today).

Majority of the City markets and shopping centres were full of people and one can witness all types of violations of corona SOPs while the district administration seemed to be absent from there.

A visit to various City areas revealed that a large number of citizens especially women stormed the markets before iftari for Eid shopping. Following this unusual rush, traffic jams were witnessed on various roads.

It was also observed that majority of people, customers as well as shopkeepers, were not wearing face masks while use of hand sanitizer in the shops was seen while there was no concept of social distancing.

The SOP of not bringing children especially minor ones to markets was also not followed and a large number of women were seen carrying infants or minor kids with them while shopping in the City markets.

Similarly, all shopping malls, big grocery stores and cash and carry stores in posh, middle and lower class localities were full of public especially women along with their minor children.

Many stores which were directed to only sell grocery items were selling all kind of nonfood items on the pretext that other shops of nonfood items such as electronics, etc, were also open in the markets. It was also observed that the district administration seemed to have closed its eyes to the markets because it was the last day for Eid shopping.

“Observing social distancing is a dream, which we can have but can’t implement,” said a senior official of district administration on the condition of anonymity. He said the citizens were not cooperating and the administration can’t be present at every spot all the time.

Though the district administration was daily sealing businesses and shops, the situation was getting worst which raises serious questions over the strategy adopted by the administration.

Several concerned citizens while talking to this scribe at various City markets said that the main missing link in the district administration’s strategy to implement corona SOPs was that all entry and exit points of the main City markets like Ichhra, Hall Road, Beadon Road, Anarkali Bazar and Gulberg were left open.

Goshi Butt, a shopkeeper at Anarkali’s traditional Bano Bazaar, said observing social distancing in such a narrow market can’t be possible. He, however, claimed that he had always asked his customers to enter his shop wearing masks but many didn’t listen to him.

It was also witnessed that after 6pm, the officially announced time to close the shops, a large number of shopkeepers of various busy markets downed their shutters and remained inside. It was witnessed that many traders of different busy markets like Hall Road, Sarafa Bazaar and Ichhra had deputed their employees outside the closed shutters and when a customer(s) came, they opened the shutter and sent the customer in. Most of the small shops were also seen openly violating the corona SOPs. At many points people were seen jam-packed in small shops especially at Karim Block Market, Panorama Centre, Anarkali, Liberty, Ichhra, Chungi Amarsadhu, Township, Johar Town G1, Wapda Town.

On the other hand, a spokesperson for the district administration said that all assistant commissioners were in field and sealed a large number of shops in various City markets for violating the corona SOPs.

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