Eat, pray, love, and obey

After Lockdown 5.0 comes Unlock: 1.0 where malls, restaurants, hotels, and places of worship have opened but with strict rules and guidelines in place. This decision though has become a debated issue in Goa with cases crossing the 300 mark. NT BUZZ delves in
Like it or not, whether it’s the right or wrong decision, the state has now entered a new phase after the Janata Curfew and subsequent five lockdowns. With the economy needing a boost, malls, restaurants and religious places have opened or are likely to open up soon.
This decision has been met with some cheer as the opening of malls of course means access to brands, opening of restaurants means being able to satisfy those famished taste buds, and opening of religious places means people can now visit God in his dwelling place.
While people are eager to go back to some semblance of normal by visiting malls and eating hubs, there’s still fear of contracting the virus, given that there have been many instances of how social distancing norms, wearing of masks, etc, are being openly flouted by the public.

“I was looking forward to going out to the mall, but it’s not a good idea. I don’t mean this because of social distancing and fear of COVID. When you go to a mall you tend to shop on impulse. But, being out of work means no liquidity and thus no money to splurge. So, I think for me I prefer going to pray though most churches aren’t opening yet.”
Decima D’Costa, hair and makeup artist, Mapusa

“I will wait for the mad rush to settle though my wife and daughter are eager to go to the mall. As I didn’t get to go for a holiday, I have to buy things for them, so yes, the mall it is. Also, I am anxious to avail of a Goan thali at a restaurant with work colleagues.”
Amith Kamant, general manager, Verna

“I am so excited about dining at restaurants, even if there’s no alcohol. To be able to savour different cuisines is what I’ve been dying for. There are so many restaurants that I want go to, right up from North to some in the South. The only hitch will be to leave early and gobble up as much as possible till 9 p.m., ofcourse with social distancing, etc. Usually May-June is the time for big sales in branded stores. So,I’m looking forward to these sales for some new rainwear, kurtas and some costume jewellery.”
Dipika Kumari, student, Vasco
“I believe the government is opening up these places for the economy and not because the virus is controlled or won’t spread, so I am clearly not excited to go to any such place as of now. Health is top priority at the moment, other things can wait. The lockdown has made everyone a chef, so restaurant is a no-no for now and we pray at home more often than we would earlier. There are a lot of people who would be waiting to do all these activities but I also believe there are many more who would now think about their family’s well-being and restrain from going out.”
Shweta Sequeira, fashion entrepreneur, Anjuna

“The government wants to grow the economy. However, I feel that people should not visit crowded places like malls as it is where community transmission will take place on a large scale. I believe malls should not commence operations right now as it is difficult for us to make our children understand the seriousness of the situation. Same goes for religious places; elders do not understand the gravity of the pandemic.
But with due respect to the government’s decision, if these places are allowed to open then they should ensure extra precautions are in place. With the number of COVID-19 cases rising in Goa, I am certain that I will not be going to any crowded places. My advice is people should stay home and only move out if absolutely necessary and with precaution.”
Aparna Amoncar, director of catering service, Bicholim

“It is certainly very important to resume normal economic activities, so it is a welcome decision by the government. However, we cannot rely on or simply blame the government for our own carelessness. It is extremely important to observe the directions issued by the health authorities and administration at all times. With the increasing incidence of positive cases in Goa, each person must use caution. I don’t think I shall be visiting any place that is crowded. I am using home delivery options and optingfor minimal personal interaction with others, handling business matterson the telephone and through video calls.”
Rohini Gonsalves, entrepreneur, Miramar

“Frankly speaking I’m not in favour of any of these places opening up and I have no intention of visiting these places so soon. I think we have enough provisions, not only for us right now but also to donate to people in need, so malls are out of question. We can procure essentials from local vendors, which works well. We say God is everywhere. But do we actually mean it? I’m sure God will not mind if we pray from home. And when it comes to visiting hotels and restaurants, I think all of us have the ability to cook the basics and survive, and I’m sure lockdown has taught most of us to be great cooks. So, I’m okay being home.”
Uzma Khan, artist, Taleigao

“I’m not really looking forward to visiting any of these places at the moment.But if I had to choose, it would be an open-air bakery as it is comparatively less risky and I like hanging out at cafes to unwind. I’ve been missing that since the lockdown. In fact, I think open air restaurants and eat outs are fine but malls and shopping centres is a bad idea. Same goes for religious places and I’m glad better sense prevailed and they decided not to open up immediately.”
Alfred Lobo, graphic designer, Calangute

“I’m looking forward to the opening up of religious places because I need to pray! On a serious note though, I would be against the opening up of restaurants and hotels, but then again, I understand that employment is involved. People would lose their jobs if these remain closed further. Many people have already had to contend with salary cuts because of no business. And some people barely earn much to sustain a family, and that’s terrible. On the other hand, we have to contain the virus and localise it as much as possible. So,the decision to open is really debatable.”
Dale Nunes, student, Caranzalem

“As excited as I am, I am also scared. I am thrilled that the malls are open but wondering if I have that kind of money to splurge like before. Churches have decided to remain shut. There’s so much freedom now, but one that could cost alot. But, yes, I plan to shop forsome cotton clothes which will be easy to dry during the monsoon and while restaurants are opening, I’d prefer takeaways as of now.”
Gletta Mascarenhas, entrepreneur, Panaji

“I’m honestly not looking to move out much, the virus is still at its peak and I would choose to move out only for work purposes, I wouldn’t ever want the virus to be spread because of me if it can be easily avoided by staying home.”
Daniel Dsouza, photographer, Porvorim

“It’s been a long time since I have sat down to chill out with my folks at a nice place with a view and a good meal. But then if you think about it the virus spreads really fast.If I go out with my friends to a restaurant and we catch thedisease, we will then go home and spread it to our families aswell and then boom within no time, the whole city gets it.”
Jovin D’costa, multi-genre producer, Fatorda

“I’m not really looking forward to going to any of these places because the danger still lurks. And Ithink malls and religious places should still be closed. However, hotels and restaurantscould only allow takeaways. I hope people will act responsibly.”
Reshma Zakane, student, Mapusa

“I will not engage myself in any activity where crowding is possible at this crucial time.It’s absolutely not a good move when cases are rising day by day. Weshould not neglect it by saying it’s local transmission and not community transmission. We should be always careful and not travelanywhere unless necessary. We can always enjoy afterwards when this crisis ends, if we aresafe and remain alive now.”
Ramnath Nayak, student, Ponda

(Compiled by Anna Fernandes, Christine Machado, Danuska Da Gama, and Ramandeep Kaur)