Monday Aug 09 2021
Web Desk

Life returns to normalcy in Sindh as govt relaxes lockdown restrictions

Web Desk

KARACHI: Business and commercial activities limped back to normalcy on Monday as the Sindh government relaxed coronavirus restrictions that were imposed from July 31. 

Shops located at the city's busy Bolton Market area started opening for the first time after a nine-day lockdown. 

Under the revised curbs, the following will apply:

  • Market and business activities may continue till 8pm. This includes standalone grocery stores, fish and meat shops, vegetable and fruit vendors, e-commerce, and bakeries.
  • Essential services allowed to open longer. These include pharmacies, medical facilities, vaccination centres, petrol pumps, milk shops, and tandoors.
  • Businesses to remain closed on Fridays and Sundays.
  • Indoor dining will not be allowed.
  • Outdoor dining is allowed for a maximum of 300 people till 10pm under strict coronavirus safety precautions.
  • Takeaway and home delivery are allowed 24/7, subject to strict adherence to safety measures with staff and delivery personnel fully vaccinated.
  • Indoor weddings banned.
  • Outdoor weddings allowed with a maximum of 300 guests till 10pm with strict enforcement of safety protocols.
  • Shrines to remain closed.
  • Cinemas to remain closed.
  • Indoor gatherings, including cultural, musical, religious events prohibited.
  • Outdoor gatherings allowed for a maximum of 300 guests with strict enforcement of safety protocols.
  • Contact sports banned.
  • Gyms to allow only vaccinated individuals.
  • Offices to only call 50% staff to work.
  • Public transport to run on sanctioned routes with 50% occupancy and staff fully vaccinated. Snacks are not allowed onboard the vehicles.
  • Railway services to continue with 50% occupancy, subject to enforcement of strict safety protocols and vaccination of all staff.
  • Amusement parks, swimming pools and water sports facilities to remain closed.
  • Public parks to remain open subject to the following of safety measures.
  • Tourism activities to only be allowed for vaccinated individuals.
  • Domestic airlines to no longer serve meals or snacks.
  • Wearing of masks compulsory at all public places.

However, the Sindh government has warned that if coronavirus cases continue to surge across the country, strict restrictions may be imposed once again. 

PPP leader Nasir Hussain Shah, speaking on Geo News programme Naya Pakistan Sunday had claimed that due to the nine-day lockdown period, a drop in cases has been witnessed.

Shah had regretted that the provincial government, "instead of being supported, is criticised".

He had said that all decisions taken by Sindh were made keeping in view recommendations by the National Command and Operation Centre.

The PPP leader had said that if need be, a stricter lockdown will be enforced, adding that it was a tough task for the government to get the public to strictly follow coronavirus safety protocols.

Speaking of Muharram, which may begin on Tuesday, he saihad d that indoor majalis will be allowed, subject to social distancing and wearing of masks.

Schools reopening and inter exams

Sindh Education Minister Sardar Ali Shah announced on Sunday that schools in the province will remain closed till August 19.

Shah had said the decision had been taken to facilitate students.

He had said that while the provincial government will monitor the coronavirus situation in 10 days till August 19, schools will remain closed as students have difficulties commuting due to Muharram processions.

"Processions are taken out across the province from Muharram 7, which causes problems for students," he had said.

MPA Ismail Rahu, meanwhile, had said that intermediate exams will resume on August 10.

"Students will not be allowed to carry their mobile phones inside the exam centres," he had said, adding that teachers and exam staff will also not be allowed to bring cell phones inside the centre.

Rahu had said that the government will not allow cheating at any cost.