Chennai , May 6:
After being shut for 40 days, standalone outlets dealing in trades like building material and computers resumed business in non-containment zones across Tamil Nadu following relaxation of curbs, while migrant workers came out in large numbers in their regions of stay, demanding that authorities send them back home.
State-run retail liquor outlet chain (TASMAC-Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation) however, did not resume operations in Chennai.
Neighbourhood shops involved in a variety of businesses like electrical and electronic goods, optical, and stationery opened to throngs of customers and vehicular movement was significantly higher in most towns and cities.
Barricades placed in most intersections and arterial roads by police personnel to thwart free movement of vehicles and people as part of earlier curbs were removed.
Several big ticket cloth and readymade garment retailers at the shopping hub of T Nagar here switched to groceries business by customising their showrooms.
Though police and civic officials continued their patrolling, several people were seen going around without masks and some without maintaining social distance at the markets that were abuzz with activity. Migrant workers, mostly construction labourers, gathered in large numbers near Avadi and at Alapakkam in suburban Chennai and employees of garment making units at the apparel manufacturing hub of Tirupur in western Tamil Nadu, demanding to be sent back home quickly.
The government has said that construction work in non containment zones may resume from today if the workers stayed at the site.
Police and local officials arrived at all the spots where the workers gathered and requested them to disperse, assuring them that their demand to be sent back home would be considered.
Since the Koyambedu market for vegetables, flowers and fruits has emerged as a key hotspot for coronavirus, State Disaster Response Force and Armed Reserve personnel were deployed in the sprawling premises as part of efforts to regulate movement of traders and help prevent the spread of the contagion.