Minutes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a complete lockdown for the next three weeks, Mumbaikars queued up outside stores to buy essential items. Long queues outside grocery and medical stores defeated the prime minister’s social distancing message.
“At a time when he’s announcing something, he should also announce the precautions that people need to take, what are the necessary goods that people can buy, shops will remain open. These things were not announced when he was talking.”Hitesh, Mumbaikar
While some were seeking clarity on whether the functioning of essential services will be hit, others just didn’t want to risk stock running out.
“I know it will be kept open as it comes under essential services but still, you don’t know. By tomorrow morning, if this guy’s stock suddenly gets exhausted, then we have to go all the way somewhere else to pick it up. I’ve come to pick up whatever one or two things that are urgently required.”Seshagiri, Mumbaikar
As panic buying ensued, Mumbai Police clarified that essential services and establishments selling these commodities will remain open.
“All are requested to note that the lockdown will not affect any essential commodities or services like food, groceries, medicine and medical equipment etc. The essential services and the establishments of essential commodities will remain open. There is no need to panic and rush to shops now . Please cooperate with police and civic administration,” said the statement by Mumbai Police.
It added, “The lockdown is extended till 14 April. But we will ensure that the essential commodities, medical facilities and all the exceptions made in the order will be allowed with due precautions.”