NEW DELHI: Most individuals in densely crowded areas of Delhi have begun wearing masks in the face of rising Covid-19 cases after police officials and authorities began levying fines on the general public and shopkeepers who fail to obey Covid-19 guidelines, which include wearing face masks. According to sources, several people, after arguing with officials over following Covid-19 regulations, have been taken to nearby police stations.
The Sunday Guardian paid a visit to Sarojini Nagar in Delhi, a popular shopping destination for Delhiites. On Tuesday, this correspondent observed that many people were not wearing masks and were walking around with shopping bags in their hands. The shopkeepers were similarly unconcerned about people following Covid-19 standards. According to some sources, officials began a tight check on people and shopkeepers on Wednesday to see if they were following regulations.
Many elderly members of several families have stopped wearing masks, citing breathing trouble. “We do wear masks, but I have asthma, so I have kept the masks inside my pocket. Now that the cases are again rising, we are cautious. My daughters love shopping, so we come here often, but we are aware of the mask rules and follow Covid-19 protocols,” a customer said. Similarly, several customers have reported that people had stopped using masks, but that as the number of cases has increased again, they have resumed wearing the masks. “We, often, come here for shopping. I have seen people not wearing masks, but this week people have started wearing masks again. My parents are also concerned about the rising Covid-19 cases,” a 16-year old, Natasha Jain, told this paper.
This correspondent also visited Sarojini Nagar Police Station to seek information about whether the people were following Covid-19 protocols or not. The officials told this paper, “We do check regularly and have been asking people to mask up. If they do not listen, we impose fines.” Many shopkeepers, however, have told this correspondent that the officials were not as vigilant until Tuesday and that they began rigorous inspections on Wednesday. The Sunday Guardian also went to the Central Market in Lajpat Nagar, Delhi, where the correspondent noticed that several families and young people have stopped wearing masks. Shopkeepers, however, claim that the authorities are concerned about the rising Covid-19 cases and have begun checking and installing cameras to monitor the situation.“We are afraid that the cases have started rising again. We already went through a loss and now that business has resumed, cases have started rising once again,” Atul, a shopkeeper, who has been asking people to mask up, told this paper. Similar stories of shopkeepers raising awareness and asking people to wear masks have been heard in other stores too. However, many shopkeepers have stopped asking people and allowing everyone to enter even though, the entry gate of their stores says “No mask, no entry.”
“I used to tell people to keep on wearing masks if they entered my store, but now I have stopped. People are reluctant to listen, so, I have stopped telling. People must understand that the cases have started rising once again, and I see no point in reminding people again and again,” Neeraj, another shopkeeper, told this paper.
When this correspondent approached a customer who wasn’t wearing a mask to inquire about why he wasn’t wearing one, he pulled out his mask from his pocket. “We understand that the Covid-19 cases are rising, and we, as a general public, are quite vigilant about it,” he said and hurried away. The correspondent did not see any senior officials or authorities verifying whether or not individuals were following Covid-19 guidelines, but he did see several police officers talking to people and then leaving.