The government has ruled out another nationwide lockdown, as COVID-19 cases which continue to increase to an alarming level across India. Most major cities including Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru have imposed partial restrictions on movement with night curfews
And this has resulted in people panicking, fearing a complete lockdown, like the one that caused absolute chaos last year. While the national lockdown caught most of their guard in the past year, citizens want to prepare for a better lockdown this year.
Maharashtra is the worst affected state in India due to COVID-19. Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope has confirmed that the lockdown will go into effect and called on people to be mentally prepared for it.
This has resulted in many people rushing to the market and to the store to stock up on food that is considered essential.
Most stores in the state, including those selling basic goods, are closed on weekends. The shops reopened Monday amid a rush of people, who stocked up on groceries for the next few days, for fear of being locked up.
Amid concerns over the exodus of other migrant workers from the state, if the closure is announced, state labour minister Hasan Mushrif recommended financial assistance for them through the Building and Other Construction Workers (BoCW) council.
In the nation’s capital too, there is growing speculation about the lockdown following an increase in new infections.
According to some shop owners, they are seeing an increase in demand for everyday items including food and oil, as people piled up before the lockdown.
Many also complained that they couldn’t refill the shelves because wholesalers stockpiled items to sell at high prices in the event of a lockdown.
While grocery stores have seen an increase in demand, others such as butchers have seen their business decline, by nearly half. Some have blamed this decline in business on closure fears as people started spending money more carefully.
They also said that the price of chickens had risen because poultry farming had cut production due to fears of another lockdown.