With rising cases of Coronavirus COVID 19 cases in Maharashtra where the state home to the most number of confirmed infected cases in the country, the government has been forced to enforce a lockdown, instruct people to not group together to prevent the virus’s spread and step out only for availing essential services/goods like medicines and food items as a part of ‘social distancing’ measures.
However, with chances of people grouping outside grocery stores and other shops, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officers at Chandivali have drawn circular and square boxes spaced at regular intervals for customers to stand in. This has automatically ensured discipline where citizens do not end up bunching up in panic buying frenzy that has known to spread more effectively when distances between people are very short. Multiple medical researches has shown the virus to either dissipate or die beyond a few meters.
The boxes have been drawn outside shops selling medicines (chemists), groceries, vegetables, meat, eggs and milk by local ward office and medical department officers at Chaitanya Nagar, IIT Market, Fish Market, Gokhale Nagar, NITIE, Aarey Colony Road. The areas are also the most densely populated less affluent regions of Powai and Chandivali with a largely blue collared working class residency. Similar measures have been undertaken at the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) colony market at Chandivali by local corporators and BMC officers.
One of the shops strictly enforcing the rule is Patel Stores near Morarji Nagar near Aarey Road, whose staff themselves drew equidistant boxes taking a cue from the idea implemented at Chandivali. Sangharsh Nagar shops however are yet to undertake such a measure but efforts are being undertaken by local police to spread awareness about social distancing with regular patrols by Sakinaka cops making announcements and instructing people to avoid crowding.