As the city’s COVID-19 positive case nears 2,000 with more than 300 cases added per day and the Coimbatore Corporation takes steps to contain the spread of infection, there are pockets where all directives are thrown to the wind.
Flower Market on Mettupalayam Road seems to be one of those pockets where customers and flower vendors have thrown caution to the wind. From the shops leading to the market door to those inside, only a handful of traders are wearing their masks.
A few others have the mask under their chin and others are without a mask. Customer adherence to security guidelines is no different.
Sources in the market admit that this has been the situation for the past few days as footfall started to pick up ahead of Pongal. Traders most often lower their masks to shout to attract customers and the latter, too, lower their masks to haggle.
Given the surge in attendance, the need to maintain physical distancing is impossible, the sources say and add that if the Company had moved the market to a school or college, as it did during the previous lockdown , respect for physical distance would have been possible .
In this limited space where hundreds of traders and customers move around, it is impossible to respect physical distancing unless the Company regulates crowds, the sources add.
Society officials say that at the flower market, the civic body parks a vehicle equipped with a public address system to raise awareness and encourage people to wear a mask. It slams just as well at the market as it does elsewhere.
If there are specific complaints from the market sector, the Company will deploy a special team to strictly enforce the security directive, they add.
The company’s deputy commissioner, Mr Sharmila, said during a surprise inspection at the flower market on Wednesday morning that she found a high percentage of people complying with COVID-19 safety guidelines. She asked officials to deploy a battery-powered vehicle with a public address system inside the market to ensure people wear masks and on Thursday the Company will deploy a mobile medical team to take random samples there.
During this time, the Society has identified more than 30 streets or developments with more than five positive COVID-19 cases. Sources from the civic body say these areas are spread across the five zones. A few of the streets have eight to nine cases, where the civic body deployed its field investigators for a door-to-door campaign.