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Saturday, April 04, 2020

New Delhi: Amid lockdown, how grocery stores, pharmacies are coping

Most shops say no need to panic-buy, people should avoid hoarding.

Written by Ashna Butani | New Delhi | Published: March 24, 2020 2:21:26 am
Coronavirus, Coronavirus india, Coronavirus lockdown, Coronavirus shutdown, Coronavirus india lockdown, Coronavirus outbreak, Coronavirus pandemic, Delhi announced lockdown on Sunday. (Express)

Amid the lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak in Delhi, in place till March 31, only essential services, like grocery stores and pharmacies, will remain open to the public.

As fears of community transmission have risen in the city, stores have taken a number of steps to ensure that people can safely purchase necessary goods.

While grocery stores have stepped up efforts to disinfect the interiors, pharmacists wear gloves while dealing with customers.

Big Bazaar stores across the city have started thermal checks at the entrance. “Those running a temperature are not allowed into the store. All our employees are wearing masks and gloves,” said an official. The stores are temporarily selling only non-perishable goods.

With several people rushing to stock up on groceries, the official said, “Customers are not allowed to buy over 20 kg of any item, be it rice, flour or wheat.” The stores are also delivering a number of products online, daily.

“The guard keeps a tab on how many people enter the store. After every 60 customers, the gates are shut and the entire store is sanitised. Only once the trolleys and shelves are cleaned with sanitisers do we open the doors again,” added the official.

Similarly, 24Seven stores have taken precautionary steps. “Two-three teams visit all 110 stores in the city and clean the racks and shelves with sanitisers twice a day. Apart from that, all our employees are wearing masks and regularly washing their hands,” said a company official.

He added that the store is encouraging people not to hoard items: “We are assuring them that our store is open all day and we have all the necessary products.”

Anurag Garg, manager of Krishna Supermarche 37, said, “We have 11 stores across the city. Each of them are cleaned a number of times. There is a guard at the entrance providing sanitisers for everyone who enters the store. We are focusing on ensuring that products are available for our customers as many people are hoarding products.”

Pharmacies, too, have followed suit.

A pharmacist at Apollo Pharmacy, Karol Bagh, said: “Apollo Pharmacies across Delhi are disinfecting stores two-three times a day. Very few people are paying by cash as they do not want to risk catching the virus through cash transactions. When handing over the products to people, we ensure that we are wearing gloves. The company has provided us with gloves and sanitisers.”

Ishvinder Singh, owner of Preet Medicos and General Stores, Khan Market, said, “We are not allowing customers to come into the store. Instead, we have set up counters outside our three branches in the city. People are not paying by cash anymore. In fact, they refrain from touching the card machine too. So, they give us the card and tell us their PIN.”

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