Traders and shoppers are also taking a cautious approach, observing Covid-19 standard operating procedure.
The subdued mood due to the pandemic could be seen in shops along Penang Street and Market Street, with only a few people entering to buy textiles, sarees, decorative items and provisions.
Wholesale mart director Mohamed Meera Sahib Mohamed Noordeen said despite a drop in business, he is glad that their regular shoppers are still supporting the store.
“Our regular shoppers who buy all the food items from us every Deepavali are back.
“Although there is a slight drop, our promotions and year-end gifts have managed to push sales during the festival.
“We are sure the crowd would pick up towards the last week before Deepavali and during the weekends with more buying all their foodstuff for the celebration.”
Saree shop owner K. Apparoa said people have taken a wait-and-see approach due to the pandemic.
“Many are staying away from crowded places with only one or two from a family coming to shop for the festival,” she said.
“The mood this year is definitely different. There is no hustle and bustle with people crowding the shops,” added Apparoa.
Another owner, whose store sells decorations, ornaments and household provisions, said many preferred to shop near their homes.
The shop’s director KL Saravanakumaran said in previous years, many from the northern region such as Kulim and Sungai Petani in Kedah would travel to Little India in Penang to do their shopping for the festival.
“But this year, they are buying from the shops over there. There is a fear of travelling due to the pandemic and this could be seen from our smaller than usual outstation crowd,” he said.
Meanwhile, restaurants used to seeing booming business with Deepavali shoppers thronging their outlets, are feeling the pinch with a smaller crowd.
“Many have shied away from crowded places and are spending less time shopping,” said restaurant owner Datuk N. Ramanathan.