Police, admin deploy teams to enforce Covid-appropriate behaviour as markets set to reopen in Delhi

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New Delhi, Jun 6 (PTI) Markets, malls and offices in the national capital are all set to reopen on Monday after being shut for one-and-half-months, with the police and district administration deploying teams across the city to enforce Covid-appropriate behaviour.

The Metro train services that were stopped on May 10 will also resume from Monday morning with 50 per cent seating capacity only.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Saturday announced further relaxations in the lockdown, and said Delhi Metro will operate at 50 per cent capacity and markets and malls in the national capital will open on an odd-even basis from June 7.

District administration and police officers said super spreader areas like prominent markets, malls and liquor stores that attract large crowds have been earmarked and special deployment will be ensured there for strict compliance of precautions like use of face masks and social distancing.

'50 teams have been formed for enforcement purposes. At major places where crowding is expected like Lajpat Nagar market, 10 or more teams will be deployed,' said southeast Delhi district magistrate Vishwendra.

He said both static and mobile teams will be deployed with focus on super spreader areas that have been already mapped for ensuring effective enforcement.

According to the Delhi Disaster Management Authority, the ongoing lockdown, which had been imposed on April 19, has been extended by one more week (up to June 14).

Malls, markets and market complexes (except weekly markets) will open between 10 am to 8 pm on odd-even basis in accordance with their shop numbers, from Monday morning.

The Delhi Metro is set to resume services from Monday. However, only half of the available trains will be inducted into service with a frequency ranging from nearly five to 15 minutes on different lines, officials said.

The DDMA in its order on Saturday allowed various relaxations, including opening of markets, malls, Metro train services, and opening of government and private offices with 50 per cent staff.

All standalone and neighbourhood shops in residential complexes will be permitted to open on all days without any distinction of essential and non-essential goods or services, the order said.

The liquor vends that were closed, after the lockdown was announced on April 19, will also open from Monday on odd-even basis.

A senior police officer said 'extra pickets are being deployed and patrolling will be intensified as the unlocking begins from Monday. In case the liquor shops witness heavy crowds, extra teams of police personnel will be deployed to ensure compliance of the DDMA order, he said.

Officials said the key element of enforcement will be issuing challans to violators of Covid-appropriate behaviour. 'Usually 300-500 challans have been issued in the past few days during the lockdown that would be doubled as a deterrent during the unlock period,' said a senior district official.

In north Delhi district, 34 teams drawn from various departments including civil defence volunteers have been formed for enforcement of Covid-appropriate behaviour, said a senior officer.

The sub-divisional magistrates will coordinate with the teams to ensure no instances of overcrowding or violations of Covid safety norms are reported, the officer said.

Police officers said representatives of market associations have been briefed across all the 15 police districts for compliance of government orders and maintaining Covid-appropriate behaviour.

Brijesh Goyal, chairman of Chamber of Trade and Industry (CIT) said all the shop owners including in markets, market complexes, malls as well standalone and neighbourhood ones, have been urged to ensure strict implementation of Covid-appropriate behaviour.

'We have divided the city in five zones and formed teams of traders to assist police and district officials as well as monitor compliance of COVID-19- appropriate behaviour. We have asked shopkeepers not to entertain customers not wearing masks,' Goyal said. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Outer) Parvinder Singh said, 'We have briefed market associations about using staggered timings for staff and opening shops on odd-even basis to ensure sufficient distancing among shoppers. We have also encouraged them to put markings for social distancing.' On Saturday, police personnel deployed at outer district also distributed free masks, while violators were greeted with flowers as a token to remind them to follow guidelines regarding COVID-19-appropriate behaviour, he said.

Regular announcements will be made by the police as well as the market associations, and pamphlets will also be distributed to visitors urging them to follow the guidelines for everyone's safety, another police officer said.

The movement of shopkeepers and their employees at malls, market complexes, standalone and neighbourhood (colony) shops will be allowed on production of valid identity card issued by the employer, firm or valid e-pass issued by district magistrates.

The DDMA order stipulated implementation of Covid-appropriate behaviour at all government and private offices, malls, markets, market complexes, standalone (single) and neighbourhood shops.

The offices and shops will be liable to be closed if Covid norms are not maintained there, it said. PTI VIT/AMP KND TDS TDS

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