RAWALPINDI: Though the Punjab government on Monday lifted the smart lockdown in markets and bazaars, traders refused to open their shops saying they would start business activities from Tuesday (today).
The government enforced the lockdown on July 27 till August 5 and closed all markets to avoid the spread of coronavirus during Eidul Azha. The decision as criticised by traders across the province.
However, soon after Eidul Azha, the government changed its mind and issued a notification to open bazaars and markets from Monday morning.
But the traders rejected the offer and said they would open the markets after the third day of Eidul Azha.
Deputy Commissioner retired Capt Anwarul Haq told Dawn that there was no restriction on traders to open bazaars and markets as the number of Covid-19 patients did not increase during Eid.
Govt issues notification to lift lockdown two days ahead of its earlier decision
He said the district administration had informed the traders’ association about the decision to open the bazaars but received no response.
“It will be their choice otherwise there is no restriction on opening of markets and bazaars.”
He said educational and training institutes, marriage halls, business centres, expo halls, restaurants (except for takeaway and home delivery), theme parks, public parks, beauty parlours, cinemas and theatres will remain closed.
He said standard operating procedures (SOPs) would remain the same for markets and bazaars.
The district administration would check the SOPs in the markets from Tuesday (today) as visitors and shopkeepers had to adopt the safety measures.
On the other hand, Rawalpindi Traders Association President Sharjeel Mir said the government had asked them to open shops but “we refused to start business on Monday as it was the third day of Eid and mostly people were still busy in offering religious rituals.”
He said traders were also busy in distribution of meat of sacrificial animals among their relatives and friends. He said usually traders open bazaars and market on the fourth day of Eid.
“Earlier, the provincial government was in a hurry to close the markets and now it wants us to start working. We will open the markets as per our own schedule.”
Mr Mir said traders had been following the SOPs and would continue doing so besides creating awareness.
Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2020