Calcuttans leave masks at home on daily visits to shops and market
Many Calcuttans are leaving their masks at home or keeping them inside their bags on their daily visits to shops and markets.
At most markets, including New Market and the ones in Gariahat, Baguiati and Salt Lake, The Telegraph saw on Tuesday that neither shoppers nor shopkeepers were wearing any type of face cover. Many had them on their chin or hanging from their neck or ear.
At New Market, most shopkeepers inside the complex as well as hawkers outside were without masks.
Lake Gardens resident Sanjana Choudhury, who went to New Market on Tuesday afternoon, said she beat a hasty retreat after seeing hundreds without masks.
“I wanted to visit a tailoring shop off Lindsay Street but did not venture anywhere near as most people out there were not wearing masks. My driver had barely managed to park the car when I called him back and headed home,” Choudhury recounted.
Mohammed Sarfaraz, 29, a hawker who sells watches and shades in front of the Grand hotel, said he was not wearing any face cover as it was too hot and humid. “It is impossible to cover your face at all times in this weather,” he said.
At the Baguiati market, fish seller Rabin Mondal said Covid was no more and there was no need to wear masks. “Dada corona paliyeche, aar nei ekhon. Mask pore kichu hobe na (The coronavirus has fled. It is useless to wear masks now.)”
On Tuesday, officials from the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation's health department and officers from the Bidhannagar commissionerate visited several markets in Baguiati and made announcements for people to wear masks.
“Most of the markets in Baguiati, Kestopur and other areas off VIP Road are drawing huge crowds. Most are not wearing masks or maintaining any social distancing norms. We carried out a drive today and asked people to wear masks. We will keep doing this for a couple of days before fining traders and shoppers found violating Covid protocols,” said Paranay Kumar Ray, a member of the Bidhannagar civic body's board of administrators in charge of the health department.
“The number of cases may have gone down and many have got vaccines. However, we have to keep in mind that the pandemic is far from over. Wearing masks and maintaining social distancing is of utmost importance. We have to look around and learn from experiences of countries such as the UK and Thailand,” said Kusum Adhikari, an official of the civic health department.
A Calcutta Municipal Corporation official said they were doing whatever they could to educate people about the need to adhere to the Covid protocols.