Covid-19 dampens wedding season festivities

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on March 18, 2020 Published on March 18, 2020

Families are cancelling hall bookings, service providers are facing business loss, authorities are worried about crowds gathering

As the marriage season begins in Maharashtra but families are busy cancelling mantap bookings while those going ahead with the function are trying to prune the guest list. The government machinery is trying to convince people of the gravity of coronavirus spread and avoid marriage ceremonies.

State Health Minister Rajesh Tope speaking to reporters in Pune said, “The State government has not banned marriages but has issued advisory. Those who want to go ahead with marriage ceremonies must ensure that there should be just 200 people – 100 each from bride and groom’s side.”

Efforts are on to avoid unwanted guest — Covid-19 — in ceremonies and the local government authorities are tracking people who have tested coronavirus positive but still insisting on attending the ceremonies. The tradition of tying the knot at auspicious muhart is popular in the State and marriage dates are decided months before. However, the emergency situation has changed the marriage market mood.

In rural areas the Panchayats are trying to convince people to postpone marriages while in municipal, areas the administration and corporators are on the job.

A person from Kalyan Dombivali who was in USA for a few days returned to the city this week and travelled to Solapur to attend a marriage. The municipal administration had to trace his travel route and has advised the bride and groom’s families to undergo Covid-19 tests. It is also tracing his co-passengers on the railway and the places where he stayed. This is one reported case which has alerted the State to keep watch on marriages.

“This is the season when people come out for buying marriage bastas (clothes) and gold. But the market is completely shut down. Now, we don’t know what is going to happen. In fact, many families have cancelled the earlier order as they themselves are not sure when the marriage will take place,” says Chetan Bakshi a cloth merchant in Pune.

In rural areas, marriage season is a major period where traders and businessmen witness huge turnover. But the lull in the market has left them worried. Along with cloth and gold business, catering services are facing huge losses.

Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus positive patients in Maharashtra is at 42 (by Wednesday afternoon) and 800 have undergone testing. “Except for 42 people, others are negative. Those who have tested positive are not in critical condition,” said Tope. He added that people must not step out of the house unless it is necessary.

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Published on March 18, 2020
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