COVID-19: BBMP has no plans to shut major parks

COVID-19: BBMP has no plans to shut major parks

Representative image. (DH File photo)

Until very recently, the footfall at Lalbagh Gardens would easily touch the 6,000-mark when schools declared a holiday.

This Sunday, however, the park reported just over 900 visitors following an advisory to avoid crowded places in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Horticulture department officials deny issuing orders to close down Lalbagh and Cubbon Park, but they admit the drastic measure is not required as visitors' numbers automatically dropped significantly.

Dr Venkatesh B, director, department of horticulture, noted that the number of walkers between 6 am and 9 am has been stable at around 3,000 a day in the past few weeks. The walkers do not buy tickets to access the park.

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But Dr Venkatesh noted that the number of ticketed entries between 9 am to 6 pm has declined after the BBMP issued an advisory to people to stay away from places where the public congregate in large numbers.

"Ticket sales on a regular day is about 1,800 to 2,000. But on Monday it was 438 and Tuesday 467,” he said, adding that the entries on Sunday were 926.

Though the footfall has dropped in Cubbon Park also, he said it is difficult to quantify the numbers since it has multiple entry points. Dr Venkatesh also requested those with cough and cold to stay away from the parks.

Meanwhile, Dr M Jagadeesh, joint director, parks and gardens at the horticulture department, said boards with Covid-19 advisories have been installed in different areas of Lalbagh.

"We have already advised security personnel to keep a watch on visitors. If someone is found to be very sick, they will be asked to stay away," he said.

Visitors will also be given sanitisers at the entrance and will be advised on maintaining hygiene. They will be asked not to spit. Dr Venkatesh said hand sanitisers will be given only to ticketed entrants and it will not be given to morning walkers due to their large
numbers.

Asked about the restrictions, BBMP commissioner B H Anil Kumar said the civic authorities were not thinking about shutting the parks totally.

"As per the advisory, we have asked people to refrain from using the outdoor gym area as it has got several surface contact areas," he said. "The visitors are mostly senior citizens. What will they do if we lay restrictions here as well?" 

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