Face mask vendors fight for survival as demand decreases – The New Indian Express

Express News Service

TIRUCHY: During the Covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdown, the only means of income for street vendors in the city was the sale of face masks. The waves kept the demand for masks high. However, the significant decline in Covid-19 cases over the past few weeks has reduced the demand for masks and several vendors are struggling to clear their stocks.

Jahir Hussain, a vendor from NSB Road, said, “I have face masks in the range of Rs 10-20. Around 500 masks were sold during the second and third waves of Covid. Expecting the demand to continue, I had ordered stocks worth Rs 1 lakh. But, I hardly sell 10 or 15 masks a day now. I will be facing a heavy loss if I fail to clear the existing stock.”

Several vendors shared a similar plight and have decided not to stock up on masks anymore.

Hakkim, a vendor from Vayalur Road, said, “I already have stocks worth Rs 50,000. Though students buy from me as my stall is near a college, I hardly get good sale. Nowadays, I make about Rs 200-250 a day.  This situation is likely to continue in the coming days and I am not having any plans to order more stocks.”

Mayilswamy, a vendor near MGMGH, said, “I used to sell masks near the Chathiram bus stand. As I was not getting any sale, I started selling near the hospital. But even here, I am not getting many sales. I hardly make Rs 300 a day.”

As the city did not record any positive cases even on Thursday, pharmacists have claimed the increase in demand for masks to be very unlikely.

Shekar, a pharmacist from Thillai Nagar, said, “We sell surgical masks at `3 and N-95 mask at `20. Nowadays, only a few people are buying masks and there is no demand for N-95 masks. Therefore, we have no plans to give further orders for masks.”

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