For the residents of Bengaluru, life is slowly returning to a semblance of normal after spending almost two months in lockdown.
The state of Karnataka was among the worst-hit states during the second wave of Covid-19 in the country, which resulted in the imposition of night and weekend curfews, a 'close down' on April 27, 2021, and finally a lockdown, which began on May 10. Theatres, malls, gyms, clubs, bars, places of religious worship etc. closed down, and restaurants could operate their kitchens only for takeaway. No movement of people was allowed, and buses and other public transport ceased to function.
Lockdown relaxations slowly came into effect on June 15, which meant good news for business owners. Satish Shetty, a supervisor at Toit Brewpub said, "We reopened for dine-in on June 21. While we are still operating at 50% capacity, the sales are going good. Our regular customers have returned, and there seem to be more people coming in each day." Toit is one of many popular resto-pubs in Bengaluru. They continued to operate their kitchen for takeaway and food delivery services during the lockdown, with the help of food delivery partners such as Swiggy and Zomato. "During the lockdown, some of our staff members went to their hometowns. They are due to return in one or two weeks, at which time we hope we will be able to operate at 100% capacity," Satish added.
Since most restaurants continued to provide takeaway and delivery services, they did not experience the brunt of the lockdown as much as services such as salons and gyms did. Amrita Chinmay, a staff member of Body Concept Fitness Center, Bengaluru, said, "We had to close the gym on April 21. Most of our customers froze their packages with us during the lockdown, and some of our staff members decided to quit as well. We reopened on June 22, but there's not much crowd as of now as most of our customers are scared of contracting the virus."
Most establishments are dependent on their regular clientele to help get themselves back on their feet. Gomathi Gopal, a stylist at Peaches The Styling Salon, said, "Since we reopened on the 21st of June, our customers have mainly been regular clients. It's difficult to bring in new customers. The salon closed in April, which meant trouble for the business, but our proprietor has been very kind to us. All the employees waited patiently for it to reopen, and now we have returned to work like before."
Bengaluru residents are excitedly awaiting further relaxation of the lockdown to resume their social life. Gurupriya Raju, a college student residing in Bengaluru, patiently waited for the lockdown to be lifted so that she could step out for some fresh air. "When they lifted the lockdown, I went out to meet my friends. It's not safe to go out every day, and there's not much to do either. I am hoping my college will resume offline classes soon," she said.
The weekend curfew, which was in place in the state for nearly three months, was lifted starting from July 5 in all districts except for Kodagu. However, the night curfew is still in place, operational from 9 PM to 5 AM. With the relaxations in lockdown rules, traffic and crowds have also returned to the streets of Bengaluru, signalling a return to the well-known hustle and bustle of the city.