Coronavirus scare shuts down many markets in Chandigarh

A deserted look: In Sector 10, Chandigarh, on Saturday. Kamleshwar Singh

As the number of corona patients mounted during the day, most shopkeepers in Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali shut their shops a day before the Janata Curfew called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Sector 22 market, which is the oldest in the city and is generally buzzing with shoppers, was the first to shut shop with the lane of jewellery shops closing on Saturday morning. Soon, the smaller shops also followed suit, and by the time it was noon, the entire Sector 22 had decided to call it a day.

The shopkeepers near the cinema hall in Sector 22 also closed down voluntarily as did the vendors at the Shastri market. Sector 17, called the heartbeat of Chandigarh, also quietened down as the shopkeepers closed their showrooms. Chairman of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal Charanjiv Singh said that even though the mandal had given a call for shutting down shops on Sunday, many traders voluntarily shut down their shops on Saturday in the wake of coronavirus.

“About 40 per cent traders in the city in sectors 19, 20, 22, 15, 17 and 41 shut down their shops voluntarily because the virus is spreading,” the chairman said.

He added, “We have to be careful now because this is a very crucial and a critical phase.”

Shopkeepers found it wise to shut the shops as their workforce comes from various areas. “You never know who has come in contact with anyone who is a positive case. So it was decided by shopkeepers to shut down. Even otherwise people are not coming out to shop,” he added.

Smaller markets like those of Sector 27 remained open with the sector’s grocery shop doing brisk business.

Shops selling essential items, including chemists, will be open tomorrow. Otherwise there is a complete shutdown.