With the easing of the lockdown, many standalone shops and merchants are resorting to a novel technique to keep track of customers walking into their premises — a register at the entrance in which people enter their details.

According to shopowners, the register will help track people present in the vicinity of someone who tests positive for COVID-19 after visiting their premises.

At Ratna Stores in Pondy Bazaar, customers are first asked to clean their hands using a sanitiser and allowed inside the shop only after writing down their name, phone number and location from where they have come. Mochi Shoes and the Louis Philippe showroom in the vicinity follow a similar routine.

“From the day we got permission to resume operations, we have maintained this log book. In case any customer who visits us tests positive, this will help the officials track the others in our building on that particular day,” said the proprietor of an apparel shop in T. Nagar.

A wholesale grocery trader in Mylapore displayed a notebook and said, “Anyone entering my shop must write down their contact details, else I’m not letting them in.”

A retailer who has six outlets in the city said, “Initially, many customers were reluctant to share their mobile numbers with us and women, in particular, were uncomfortable even mentioning the locality they were coming from. But, after we explained the purpose behind noting the details down, they were fine with sharing the particulars.”

He added that in the past week, everyone who walked into his stores had given their number. “Some of them requested us not to send them internal marketing and promotional messages,” he added.

A. Tulasi, who recently visited a textiles shop in T. Nagar, said, “I generally don’t share my number as I fear I will be bombarded with unwanted marketing messages. Since this [log book] is for a genuine cause, I have given my father’s mobile number.”

Retailers that The Hindu spoke to said that if all shopkeepers in the city maintained a register of customers, it would prove to be of immense help to the authorities.

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