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Implementation reviewed as govt announces COVID restrictions

KARACHI   –  The Sindh government’s announcement to implement strict COVID-19 restrictions in business hub of the country, Karachi, saw a partial implementation on first day after traders announced to defy and put up resistance to any such order. 

In a late night decision, the provincial government issued a notification to ban business activities in Karachi after 6:00 pm besides also imposing restrictions on indoor wedding functions, gymnasiums, and restaurant with an immediate effect with allowing an exception for ceremonies being held outside amid the second wave of Covid-19. 

The government ordered that business activities would only be allowed from 6am to 6pm with weekends off.

The notification reads that wedding functions will only be allowed outdoors with a maximum guest capacity of 200 people and had to be concluded by 9pm. It said that only buffet service would be allowed to serve guests. According to new instruction, all indoor activities including businesses centres, gyms, shrines will be banned, while offices, both public and private, will be allowed only 50 percent of their staff with strict SOPs in place while the remaining will be working from home.

The government has decreed that all business activities, except essential service providers and shops, will remain under lockdown on Fridays and Sundays. Moreover, the indoor dining service of the restaurants has been banned as well while outdoor dining will be allowed up to 10pm. While takeaways and delivery services will continue to be operational, according to the notification.

Sindh traders oppose reduced shop timings, vow resistance

Sindh Tajir Ittehad Chairman Jameel Paracha on Tuesday rejected the Sindh government’s decision of allowing businesses and markets to open from 6am to 6pm. He said in a statement that it was impossible for traders to implement the new reduced shop timings in any way. “While traders are already reeling from adverse impacts of the previous lockdown, efforts are being made to limit business activities once again,” he said.

Paracha warned that traders would put up resistance if police came to enforce the decision. Muhammad Arshad, the chairman of All Pakistan Jewellers Manufacturers Association, said the decision to open shops at 6am was not viable and suggested that they be allowed to operate from 9am till 8pm.

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