The Delhi Police this year is not only focused on security in the city's high-footfall markets ahead of the festive season but also on ensuring the public follows COVID-19 norms, officials said on Wednesday.
Khan Market, Karol Bagh, Chandni Chowk, Sadar Bazaar, Connaught Place, Janpath, Lajpat Nagar market and Sarojini Nagar are among the markets in the national capital that draw high footfall.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southeast) R P Meena said meetings were held with market welfare associations, and an awareness campaign related to COVID-19 was being run.
"This time, besides anti-terror announcements, a new audio clip related to the COVID-19 will be played through loudspeakers. In the audio, the general public will be advised to maintain social distancing while shopping and wear masks properly. We had a meeting with market welfare association of Lajpat Nagar market. They have deployed their volunteers, who are ensuring the coronavirus norms are followed. We are also running an awareness campaign for the COVID-19 related norms," Meena said.
Till Tuesday, Delhi recorded 5,854 COVID-19 fatalities, while the infection tally has risen to 3.14 lakh.
"We have been taking several steps such as making announcements for wearing masks, follow social distancing, and washing hands regularly. These are being done through police vehicles and public address systems that are in place at crowded places such as markets," Delhi Police spokesperson Eish Singhal said.
"Our police staff present at such places also apprise people about the three precautionary measures to fight coronavirus (COVID-19). For violators, we are issuing challans. For the needy, we are distributing masks," the official added.
From June 15 till Tuesday, the Delhi Police has issued 3,86,188 challans for not wearing masks and 31,874 challans for violation of social distancing norms. The force has distributed 3,56,899 masks to people.
Atul Bhargawa, president of New Delhi Traders Association, said the footfall in the markets has increased, and consumers are taking all precautions before stepping out.
"As the festive season is approaching, the traders are making all efforts in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and also cooperating with police regarding the security. We have ensured social distance is maintained inside the shops. The traders have thermal machines to check the temperature of every individual entering their shops. They are using sanitisers and also ensuring that people wear masks properly," Bhargawa said.
Shopkeepers have pasted a sticker outside their shops, urging people to maintain social distancing for their own safety, he added.
"We can only ensure the norms are followed inside the shops, but we are not sure about the outside premises. In recent days, the footfall has increased which is a good sign for business ahead of the festival season. People are coming out of their houses with masks and also maintaining social distancing," Bhargawa said.
On Monday, Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) Anto Alphonse had visited the Chandni Chowk market and reviewed security arrangements there. Police officers also met with representatives of the different market associations.
The officers discussed about the necessary measures to be taken for the security of traders as well as of visitors to the market.
The police urged the shopkeepers' association members to install maximum number of cameras in the market and ensure deployment of guards.
All shopkeepers were advised to keep sanitisation arrangements and try to ensure social distancing.
A senior police officer from the north district said, "It is a challenge for police to ensure social distancing in high-footfall areas, and it seems to be a difficult task for us, but we will keep announcing the precautions through loudspeakers in the market areas. We have also urged the shopkeepers to install CCTV cameras focusing on roads outside their shops."