LAHORE: Punjab has started allowing reopening of various businesses, which had been closed for a couple of weeks under Covid-19 pandemic precautionary measures, in a bid to gradually resume routine life across the province subject to fulfilling of certain conditions.
The government, through three different orders / notifications issued during the last couple of days, exempted 10 kinds of industries and several allied businesses from Section 144 of the criminal procedure code ‘subject to implementation of the precautionary measures’ to avert spread of the coronavirus.
According to a notification issued by the home department’s internal security wing on April 3, the government has allowed opening of 36 kinds of businesses related to the textile industry, 10 of sports goods, seven of surgical goods, three of auto parts, 25 of pharmaceutical, 22 of leather and leather garments, seven of fruits and vegetables and eight of meat and meat products/ industry.
“All activities related to these industries/ companies/ factories and its supply chain bearing minimum staff ensuring all precautionary measures against Covid-19 as per the SOPs issued by the industries, commerce, investment and skills development department are exempted from restrictions imposed vide order of section 144 of March 23 throughout the province of Punjab,” reads the notification.
Interestingly, the home department’s internal security wing same day issued another notification, allowing resumption of the dry cleaners and laundries across the province. “All services relating to dry cleaners and laundries with maximum one helper ensuring precautionary measures against Covid-19 are exempted from restrictions vide order of section 144 dated March 23 throughout the province,” said the order.
On April 4, the department issued a third notification, allowing the opening of branches / outlets of exchange companies licensed by the State Bank of Pakistan across the province. “The branches/ outlets of exchange companies are allowed to continue their operations being essential financial service provider like banks. Therefore, all services related to these exchange companies shall be carried out with all precautionary measures against Covid-19,” the notification stated.
Talking to Dawn, a Punjab government official termed the same a step leading to a gradual resumption of the businesses facing closure due to pandemic. “Though I don’t know whether or not the government decides to extend the lockdown (after April 14), I am of the view that it eagerly wants to end the situation the people continue to pass through,” he said.
The official was of the opinion that opening of more businesses were expected in near future if the Covid-19 situation did not worsen.
Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2020