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Wednesday Jul 15 2020
Web Desk

COVID-19: Sindh govt says ban on large wedding gatherings to remain in place

Web Desk
Sindh government is fully adhering to the lockdown policy recommended by the federal administration, so wedding halls need to remain closed, says Sindh Information Minister Nasir Hussain Shah. Photo: File

KARACHI: Sindh Information Minister Nasir Hussain Shah has said the provincial government will make sure that there are no violations on the ban of weddings or large gatherings in the province due to the coronavirus pandemic, reported The News.

“The only exception to this ban are the gatherings held on a limited scale inside homes to solemnise marriages, but the government will ensure implementation of the ban on wedding feasts,” Shah said during talks with representatives of wedding hall owners on Tuesday.

Shah said the provincial government was well aware of the sufferings of those associated with the business of wedding halls in the city; however, these activities need to remain suspended because there would be no compromise on the health and lives of the people at risk of contracting coronavirus.

The provincial minister added the government knew about the adverse impacts of the health emergency on the different segments of trade and economy, which has resulted in unemployment, but the situation was the same the world over.

“Sindh government is fully adhering to the lockdown policy recommended by the federal administration, so wedding halls need to remain closed as part of the countrywide precautionary measures against the pandemic,” Shah said.

The minister said the owners of wedding halls would be free to reopen their businesses without seeking any further permission from the provincial government whenever the Centre’s lockdown policy allows the resumption of their business.

He added consultations were still underway with stakeholders of different segments of society that are still closed as part of the lockdown measures. “The Sindh government cannot decide on the reopening of these segments without the Centre’s or the apex judiciary’s orders,” he added.

Shah added the Sindh government has thought of several relief measures for small businesses given their losses due to the lockdown. “The provincial government stands with the traders, and together they will defeat the pandemic,” he added.

Govt to take strict action against those violating SOPs

Commissioner Iftikhar Ali Shallwani said that a set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) will have to be compiled whenever weddings halls are given the green light to resume business. He said the government machinery will come into action whenever any violation of the SOPs is detected during a wedding.

In a statement issued after the meeting, Marriage Hall Owners Association President Rana Raees claimed that they were assured by the government that they will be granted permission to reopen their businesses by August 2.

Raees said they have been asked to submit their recommendations for SOPs to be devised for weddings, adding that they were bound to comply with the precautionary measures to be issued by the government. He also thanked the Sindh government for holding the talks.

A day earlier, wedding hall owners had announced reopening their businesses themselves on August 2 as they gathered outside the Karachi Press Club to protest against the ban on their operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic since the past three months.

Raees had told the media that since the imposition of the lockdown, wedding halls had been closed across the country. However, he pointed out, the government later allowed many other businesses to operate under SOPs, but even then wedding halls were not allowed to be reopened.

Originally published in The News