By Arré Bench Jun. 29, 2020
Mumbaikars have been queuing up outside stores to shop like we’ve beaten the coronavirus. What will it take for the city to follow lockdown norms? A hefty fine like one imposed on a family from Bhilwara?
India’s number of coronavirus cases continues to rise, but its citizens seem to be downplaying the threat of the pandemic. This Saturday, a viral video surfaced on Twitter of long queues, allegedly outside the Zara store in Mumbai’s Fort. Though many of the gathered people were wearing masks, there was very little respect for social distancing. In a line that went from the storefront around the street corner, people stood in groups, huddling together like Covid-19 takes weekends off.
— The Zucker Doctor (@DoctorLFC) June 27, 2020
On Monday morning, Maharashtra’s Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced that the state would remain in partial lockdown until July 31. The announcement comes a day after he warned that he’d reimpose the lockdown if violations continue. If only that sense of urgency trickled down to the citizens as well. The irresponsibility seen outside the Zara store was also displayed last month by Mumbaikars who thronged to a Starbucks outlet at the first rollback of lockdown restrictions.
This was posted on FB by @PavitrSaith.
Mumbai is a Corona hotspot, yet people are hanging around without masks sipping Starbucks coffee. Presumably educated people like us.
What is wrong with us as a nation? pic.twitter.com/e5aT92ZEsy
— Natasha Ramarathnam نتاشا رامارتنم (@nuts2406) May 28, 2020
The repeated flouting of safety guidelines by citizens is making government authorities pursue strict action against offenders. On the same Saturday as the Zara queue debacle, in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara, a man was fined ₹6.25 lakh for hosting his son’s wedding with over 50 guests earlier in June. After the function on June 13, 15 guests developed coronavirus symptoms and one person died. The strict fine levied against the man who organised the function could hopefully serve as a deterrent to others thinking that they are above safety measures.
Bhilwara collector slapped a fine of Rs 6.26 lakh on a man for conducting his son's wedding where he invited over 250 people who showed up without wearing #facemasks and openly flouted #SocialDistancing norms.@asnaniraajesh https://t.co/UWRbCZSuBF
— Sunday Standard (@Sunday_Standard) June 28, 2020
Even Mumbai’s authorities have clamped down. On Monday morning, as the lockdown extension until July 31 was announced, the city saw massive traffic jams as police halted the vehicles of people travelling more than two kilometres from their homes without a valid reason.
Many check post today in #Mumbai causing a traffic havoc. Asking proof of travel if you are going for more than 2km of your home add. #Mumbaitraffic at Dahiser, Kandivali, Malad, Andheri, Mulund, Chembur, Sion, Hindmata.. Many vehicles seized @mumbaitraffic @RidlrMUM @republic pic.twitter.com/A4lBXbg8he
— Gaurav Dedhia (@gauravdedhia2) June 29, 2020
हा दहिसरचा व्हीडिओ आला आहे. दोन किमीचे फर्मान निघाल्यानंतर पोलिसांनी आज जागोजागी तपासण्या सुरू केल्यात, त्यामुळे मुंबईत अनेक ठिकाणी ही स्थिती निर्माण झालीय… या भीषण गर्दीतून ॲंब्यूलन्सचाही क्षीण आवाज ऐकू येतोय… परमेश्वर त्या रूग्णाचे रक्षण करो!!🙏 @OfficeofUT @CPMumbaiPolice pic.twitter.com/9gntyrhf2o
— rajiv khandekar (@rajivkhandekar) June 29, 2020
While these penalties might seem harsh to some, gambling with public health and safety for selfish reasons like shopping or wedding functions is no laughing matter. Staying home can be tough, but it’s vastly superior than queuing up outside hospitals, and people would be well served to remember that.
A long queue outside Mumbai's KEM hospital as #COVID & non-COVID patients struggle to get necessary care even as doctors & nurses work round the clock. @archanajsr's ground report pic.twitter.com/cWcwgDu9Fa
— CNBC-TV18 (@CNBCTV18News) May 23, 2020