CHENNAI/TIRUCHY: As curbs on lockdown norms were relaxed, shops reopened on Monday, but many in Chennai city remained shut due to a lack of business.
“Almost all people who come to my tea shop are IT employees. Few autorickshaw drivers also, but now they are not plying so there is no point in opening the shop. The government says we can provide parcel but that will also happen if there are daily wage labourers or when companies have meetings. Only one or two will take parcel to their houses,” says S Govindan, who owns a tea shop in Nungambakkam.
Same was the case in Choolaimedu, Tambaram and T Nagar.
Dry cleaners say that very few people approached them as most are not going out of their houses. “If they go to office regularly they might not have time to wash and give it to us. Since, everyone is home now home, we don’t get any business,” says H Jayalakshmi, who runs a laundry unit in Alwarpet.
Opticians say that without eye doctors opening clinics people will not approach them. “Clearly this is not the time when someone will but jewels and furniture,” says L Siddharth Manjit, who owns both jewellery and furniture units in Purasavalkam.
Business as usual in districts
Meanwhile, normalcy returned as shops started opening in others districts. More than 90 per cent of standalone stops opened shutters in Tiruchy. Life was back to normal for many on Monday as the city was bustling with activity.
“For more than a month, we used to come out only to buy essential items. After seeing empty roads for so long, it feels different to see them filled with people and vehicles. he break has made us feel like this is something new,” said Satish, a city resident.
The most significant change which caught the eye was that all tea stalls opened. Many textile and electronics stores felt the brunt of public transport restrictions as they were unable to call their employees back from hometowns.
A textile owner said, “A majority of our employees are from nearby districts and have gone home. With public transport yet to resume, none has been able to come back.”Same was the case in most other districts. Normal life also returned to normalcy in Dindigul. Palani, Batlagundu, Vedachandur and Kodaikanal.