Chennai: Places that were the favourite haunts of people across Tamil Nadu in the recent past and normally filled with parked vehicles wore a desolate look even as educational institutions across the southern state will remain shut till March 31 to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
A visit to railways/bus stations, airports, markets, and places of tourist attractions revealed these were near-deserted, as people preferred to stay indoors.
The Tamil Nadu government has ordered the closure all educational institutions, malls, amusement parks, resorts, and theatres till March 31. Big jewellery and textile retail outlets have also been ordered shut as a preventive measure.
The busy Ranganathan Street and other commercial areas in T. Nagar locality and elsewhere in Chennai wore a deserted look.
However, grocery shops were open and some witnessed increased rush of customers amid demand for items like dettol and hand sanitisers etc.
"Amudham outlet on the C.P. Ramswamy Road here was surprisingly crowded on Thursday. Certainly, there is a spike in the number of shoppers," R. Vasantha, a homemaker, told this agency.
Traffic on Chennai roads too was not heavy, owing to the closure of commercial outlets. Many software companies have asked employees to work from home.
Roadside eateries near major railway stations -- Chennai Central, Egmore, and Tambaram -- lacked the usual number of customers as many trains were cancelled and passengers using suburban trains was low.
According to an eatery owner, cancellation of trains and confinement of people at their homes had affected business.
Drivers of autorickshaws and taxis too complained of reduced number of customers for the past two days.
In Chennai, a special pooja was conducted at Venkatachalapathy Temple in T. Nagar to safeguard people from coronavirus on Thursday.
Popular places like Kodaikanal, Ooty, and other spots too saw lower tourist turnout, affecting the earnings of business outlets at these places.