Covid-19: Kirana stores help to prevent queues, crowds while delivering essentials

G Balachandar Chennai | Updated on March 25, 2020 Published on March 25, 2020

File photo   -  REUTERS

Kirana Stores in many cities and towns have helped to prevent long queues in front of grocery shops unlike supermarkets in the west

As India braces for the inevitable 21-day lockdown, to tackle the Covid-19 issue, local Kirana stores are helping to prevent queues and large crowds while delivering the essentials to the population.

This is unlike the situation in many western countries.

With the enforcement of Covid-19 related restrictions inmany western countries, hundreds of shoppers stand in long queues outside major super markets. The footage of this scenario was available on social media platforms. To these people, supermarkets are their only sources to procure essential commodities.

Shopping patterns in India

In recent years, most of the people in Indian metros have also begun purchasing commodities from big shops. That means, more people in major cities procure essential items from big supermarkets or through the online mode.

However, this lockdown appears to be seeing a new trend.

Although super markets that sell essential items are allowed to operate during this lock-down, concerns were raised over a gathering of crowd at these places.

“Super markets that sell groceries and other essentials are also allowed to function. It may cause big problems if these are shut down. To prevent crowds at these places, we are also allowing door deliveries of dry groceries through Big Basket, Reliance and others. But we are not allowing delivery of cooked foods by Zomata, Swiggy or others,” G Prakash, Commissioner, Greater Chennai Corporation told BusinessLine.

Now, many people have started procuring things from local Kirana stores as a precautionary measure and due to the restrictions on the movement of people in many places. This has proven to be helpful as shoppers avoid going to big stores and crowding near the cash-counters.

“Today, I saw some new footfalls, but no queue. Only one person comes, buys vegetables and fruits and leave. Of course, we also put sanitizer into their hands before buying the vegetables,” a small vegetable shop owner in T Nagar, Chennai, said.

A small grocery shop owner in Naganallur said it was a big relief that the Government allowed the grocery shops to operate during the lockdown.

“I can’t afford to close the shop for a month or so and without any revenue, I can’t pay my rent and other expenses. My livelihood will be under threat. Thank god, I am allowed to open. We don’t see big crowd, but people come in regular intervals,” he said.

Then again, many vendors say social distancing is yet to be practised by the people in a serious manner.

Meanwhile, big outlets such as Big Bazaar have started door delivery services in Maharashtra and Gujarat, while practising social distancing measures in their stores.

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Published on March 25, 2020
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