afaqs! news bureau

BMC tells hoarding owners to carry awareness messages about COVID - 19

It is an intensive awareness campaign from the BMC about the virus and the best precautions one must take to minimise its spread.

As of March 16 2020, Maharashtra has registered the highest number of COVID – 19 positive cases in India at 33. Out of the 33, three cases are from Mumbai and one from Navi Mumbai.

To ensure this does not lead to mass anxiety or panic, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Mumbai's municipal body has written to all licensed hoarding owners instructing them to display awareness messages about the virus from March 16 to March 25 2020. Mumbai has about 1, 200 hoardings across the city. Those failing to do so will face stern action.

The hoardings will carry information on the precautions one must take to safeguard themselves from COVID – 19. As mentioned in The Times of India, a civil official said, "We want citizens to take utmost precautions and are, therefore, ensuring there is an aggressive awareness campaign from our side as well. There should be no reason for the hoarding owners to say they were not aware and, hence, a formal letter from the BMC's license department is being sent out. At a meeting held a week ago too, senior BMC authorities had conveyed this to all advertisers."

To compensate the hoarding owners who'd print and display the awareness messages at their own cost, BMC would provide them with a rebate in license fees for the display period. For the unruly hoarding owners, the municipal body has said it will remove their current display and hoarding structure, and cancel their licenses.

In another measure, the BMC can order a building to self-quarantine if there are multiple suspect cases of the virus under the Epidemic Diseases Act.

Praveen Pardeshi, the Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai took to social media to to spread calm amid the increasing number of coronavirus cases in Mumbai.

“I’m the Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai and I want to use this opportunity to talk to you about the Covid-19 situation...

Posted by Humans of Bombay on Sunday, March 15, 2020

In a 'Humans of Bombay' post, he spoke about the measures the state government was taking against the virus and reiterated the measures one must take to keep themselves safe. He said, "The State Govt has declared the COVID-19 as an Epidemic. All precautionary measures under the Epidemic Act are in effect."

Pardeshi also mentioned that social-distancing is the key to containing the outbreak and advised companies to initiate work-from-home policies wherever possible. If needed, 'work-from-home' will be made mandatory in the coming days.

The state government as a precautionary measure has shut down malls, multiplexes, gymnasiums, and swimming pools to contain the spread of the virus.

Brands too have taken the onus to spread awareness message about the virus and the necessary precautions to take. They took to social media platforms to engage with audiences and in witty creatives, spoke about the ways to be safe from the virus.

The spread of the virus has also affected the day to day workings of media and entertainment space. Several independent bodies took a unanimous decision to call off shooting from March 19 till March 31 2020.

Several sporting events to have been suspended or postponed worldwide. In India, the Indian Premier League (IPL), the world's most valuable twenty20 cricket tournament was postponed to April 15 from its original date of March 29 as a precaution against COVID – 19.