COVID-19 Impact: BMC gave orders but where are the masks?

Updated: Apr 10, 2020, 08:03 IST | A correspondent | Mumbai

People rush to pharmacies but return empty-handed amid zero stock after civic body makes being mask-less in public a punishable offence.

People sporting face masks seen in Dadar. Pic/ Ashish Raje
People sporting face masks seen in Dadar. Pic/ Ashish Raje

Soon after Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi issued a circular making wearing masks in public compulsory, citizens went rushing to pharmacies. While many did not have any left, those that had were selling masks at higher prices.

The circular issued on Wednesday said that citizens or essential service providers, out in public places like streets, hospitals, offices and markets, must wear a 3 ply mask or cloth mask. The rule applies to even those travelling in office vehicles and those seen flouting it would face arrest.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray advised that one can use homemade cloth masks but since many do not have resources to do so, they may visit chemists. Tourism and Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray too posted an Instagram story saying, "Don't step out without covering your nose and mouth! Mask or
Handkerchief!"

Heena Shaikh, a Malwani resident, said, "When I went out to get essentials, I first went to the pharmacy to get a mask as I had been using a scarf to cover my face. But after visiting three stores, I gave up. All had run out of stock.

Andheri resident Narendra Kakerla said, "When the government comes up with such decisions, it should also ensure that the pharmacies get enough supply. We ran out of sanitiser and wanted masks. The first store I visited did not have it and the second store was charging more. When I earlier bought the sanitiser, it cost R90. Now it costs R130. The mask I got for R45 from the third store used to cost R20 around 10 days ago."

Another Bandra East who did not wish to be named, said, "After I found out that I could get arrested if I leave without wearing a proper mask, I contacted around five stores in the vicinity. None of them had masks left. I don't have the means to make them at home."

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