With relaxations, more commercial activities resume

Autorickshaws and taxis see good patronage; customer walk-ins not high in hotels and tea stalls

Hotels and tea stalls opened on Monday for customers as the State government relaxed lockdown restrictions in the district.

Customer walk-in was not high on Monday morning and the restaurants also faced shortage of workers.

The commercial hubs of the city – Oppanakara Street, R.S. Puram and Gandhipuram, – saw retail outlets and other commercial establishments remaining open for long hours. But, customer turnout was not high. Standalone shops and those in shopping complexes and malls reopened, leading to more vehicles coming to the roads. Autorickshaws and taxis saw good patronage.

“Many shops re-opened last week. While there was good crowd for a couple of days, the walk-ins reduced after that. Industries have just started operations and face financial crunch. Financial liquidity is a challenge across sectors,” said C. Balasubramanian, president of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Officials are conducting regular checks at shops for COVID-19 cases among the staff, he said.

At the industries in the district, workers are returning to work. Many migrant workers who went home are unable to return because train services are curtailed. “There are no tickets for the next 20 days. So, many workers are booking private buses. It will take about two weeks for the industries to return to regular operations,” said M.V. Ramesh Babu, president of Coimbatore District Small Industries Association.

Liquor stores of the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation Limited (Tasmac) were opened after a gap of nearly two months in the district on Monday.

Tasmac Senior Regional Manager Sathanai Kural oversaw the opening of the liquor stores as per instructions given by the District Collector at a recent meeting.

Abdul Muneer, Deputy Manager for Coimbatore north, said that all the 158 outlets in his limits were opened on Monday. The timing for the outlets is from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. “The outlets will be disinfected at regular intervals,” he said.

A. Maharaj, Deputy Manager for Coimbatore south, said that all 135 outlets in his limits were opened on Monday.

Apart from erecting barricades for the customers to form a queue, the Tasmac administration also painted white circles on the ground to maintain physical distancing. Though police personnel were posted at all the outlets in the district anticipating a rush of customers, none of the Tasmac shops witnessed heavy footfall.

Sources in the Corporation said flying squads and monitoring teams were on the streets across the city, checking for violations.

The police suspended internal checkpoints in Coimbatore city and rural limits. However, vehicle checking continued at important check posts including those on the Tamil Nadu-Kerala borders.

The towns of Udhagamandalam, Coonoor and Kotagiri witnessed heavy traffic and crowds at commercial areas.

Though tourism spots, including all parks and gardens, remained closed in the Nilgiris on Monday, many local residents in Udhagamandalam thronged the Commercial Road and Ettines Road.

Mount Road in Coonoor and the market area also saw crowds, as people traveled to stock up on provisions.

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