Markets, malls reopen in Delhi on odd-even basis


New Delhi: Jolted by the devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the national capital moved slowly towards normal life as markets and malls reopened after nearly two months on Monday morning.

The Delhi Metro, the lifeline of the city, also resumed service with 50 per cent seating capacity and nearly half of its train fleet running from early morning.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in a tweet, appealed to people to follow COVID-19 guidelines amid the unlocking process in the national capital.

Atul Bhargav, president of New Delhi Traders Association representing shop owners in Connaught Place, said all arrangements were in place to ensure Covid-appropriate behaviour.

“However, the odd-even formula for opening retail shops is against our interests. We have enough space here in Connaught Place and most of the shopkeepers and their employees have already got the jabs. The government should treat retail and wholesale sectors differently,” Bhargav said.

Police and the district administration have formed teams to ensure no Covid norms are broken as the markets, malls and complexes reopen from 10 am to 8 pm.

“Our teams have been deployed in the field for enforcement and awareness so the unlock process operates smoothly, a senior officer in west Delhi district said.

Besides the markets and malls, standalone shops also reopened in the city adding a hint of busy city life.

“I am dusting and readying the shop as it was closed for so many days. People are still under awe of their experience in the last two months of Covid surge. I hope the situation will improve and customers will return in the coming days,” said Varun, an electronic goods shop owner in Laxmi Nagar.

A senior police officer said the shop owners in markets have been briefed to follow norms to protect themselves from the infection.

“Our teams are in the field. People are normally following the precautions but we are keeping watch as the day progresses and more people are on the roads and markets,” he said.

The chief minister on Saturday had announced various relaxations in the ongoing lockdown that was imposed on April 19, saying Covid situation was improving and the economy of the city needed to be revived. (PTI)