Kolkata: The fear of contracting the novel coronavirus has led some traders in the central business district of the city to choose caution over commerce by imposing self-lockdown.
Around 200 businessmen in Burrabazar’s Noormal Lohia Lane behind Nandaram Market, Jamunalal Bajaj Street and Canning Street on Tuesday downed their shutters for an “indefinite” period due to the “prevailing danger of coronavirus”. The decision was prompted by a spurt in Covid-19 cases and a few deaths in the area. Businessmen in Esplanade, New Market and other parts of the city have also closed their shops for the time being.
“Jaan hai to jahan hai (saving one’s life is the biggest priority),” said Tarkesh Rai, owner of Shree Gopal Textiles on Noormal Lohia Lane. A handwritten poster is pasted on his shop’s shutter that announced the establishment would remain closed for “uncertain period” and requested customers to contact over phone. “Nobody is following any safety guideline or wearing masks. I want to do business but not at the cost of my or my family’s lives,” said Rai, who will review his decision early in August.
Soon after Unlock 1.0 in June, the business district witnessed a rush of activities to salvage losses during lockdown. Only after a spurt of cases was reported, market associations started devising safety rules. “But virus has spread to various places from crowded markets. We have shut down as nobody took any initiative,” Many other shops may shut soon,” said Mohammad Hoaroon Haque, a wholesaler on Synagogue Street.