Thinley Namgay

Shopping for vegetables at the Centenary Farmers Market (CFM), Thimphu, would be different from today.

There will be no rush and crowding. The CFM management together with Desuups will ensure physical distancing is maintained when at the market. Entry and exit signs are marked on the floor to indicate how much distance should be maintained.

Desuups have volunteered to monitor the customers to follow entry and exit points initiated by the CFM management since April 21 inside the market to reduce the physical contact.

The route tracing work was completed yesterday upon recommendation from the ministry of health. From today, 20 Desuups will monitor the market every day, alternatively from 8am to 5pm until further notice. CFM is closed only on Tuesday.

Desuup Karma Tenzin said that 60 Desuups residing in Thimphu have volunteered. “It will be challenging for CFM officials to control the crowd alone. It was encouraging that people are following the rules.”

CFM’s Senior Manager, Tshering Tenzin, said that customers visiting CFM have decreased. However, he said the risk for Covid-19 is still high at the market as it is a primary public place.

“To reduce the complication, it would be better if one person from a family visits the market, ” said Tshering Tenzin. The CFM management had instructed vendors not to let customers inside their respective chamber to select vegetables.

Meanwhile, vendors said that they are incurring losses due to fewer customers at the moment.

A vendor, Tshomo, said that she struggles to sell vegetables. “Understanding the decreasing numbers of customers, I buy fewer vegetables from the distributors. Earlier I used to get a profit of at least Nu 2,000 a day. Now I hardly get Nu 500.”

Another vendor Seldon said that the new initiative would further decrease customers.