After over two months of being under lockdown, many sectors in Bengaluru reopened their shutters on Monday embracing the ‘new normal’.
As places of worship opened, people were seen standing in queues to get ‘darshan’ in temples like Halasuru Someshwara and Dodda Basavanagudi. There were markers to keep safe distance, thermal checking and sanitisers at the entrance of the temples.
However, there was no rush.
Speaking to The Hindu, Ravishankar G N of the Dodda Basavanagudi Managing Committee said that all precautionary measures were in place, including availability of sanitisers at the entrance of the temple, markers for social distancing and thermal screening.
“There is no distribution of theertha and prasada. People can get darshana. People are cooperating and we are thankful to them,” he said.
People in temples were not allowed to sit and pray. “Now I feel a kind of normalcy has returned as temples and hotels are open. I am a regular to Someshwara temple but had not been to the temple for over two months as it was closed. It was a serene experience visiting the temple,” Shambavi, a devotee said.
Restaurants that are open have precautionary measures for both customers and employees. While customers have been asked to maintain social distancing and use sanitisers before entering the hotels, employees have been told to avoid travelling to other cities for the time being. Some restaurants have tweaked their infrastructure and have made compartments on tables so that physical contact is avoided. Many restaurants are now serving food only in disposable plates.
But business has been slow for some of them, with a few hotels not getting even a single customer since morning. There is a slow trickle of customers in some others. “There is a fear among customers that they can contract infection by eating at a hotel. It takes some time to instil confidence in them about the hygiene in hotels,” said Chandrashekhar Hebbar, President, Karnataka State Hotels and Restaurants Association.
Most hotels are serving food in disposables – paper cups, plates while some have taken the sustainable route serving food in areca plates and wooden spoons. Several hotels have hiked the prices of the food to make good the additional cost of disposables. A few hotels have also taken to serving food on banana plantain leaves, either directly or in a steel plate.
Meanwhile, the seating arrangement allows only for two people per table, reducing the capacity by half. Most hotels with seating arrangements have put up thermal scanners. Darshinis have also installed hand sanitisers. All the cooks and servers are mandated to wear hand gloves.
Poor footfall at K.R. Market
K R Market, one of the major markets in the city that reopened after a gap of 75 days received poor footfall in the morning hours. Shopkeepers were seen cleaning their shops on the first day of opening the market. G Diwakar, a trader at the market said, “Today being the first day, there are hardly any customers in the market. Shopkeepers are busy cleaning the shops as we were allowed inside the market only on Monday morning. By Wednesday, all the shops will be functional and footfall will gradually increase.”
(Inputs from Jayasimha K R, Tanu Kulkarni, Aditya Bharadwaj, Suchith Kidiyoor)