PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to close all business activities and impose a complete travel ban across the province from May 8 to May 16, including Eid holidays, due to the spiking Covid-19 incidence.
However, the essential services will be exempted from the restrictions.
According to a notification issued by the home and tribal affairs department, the decision was made in view of a spike in Covid-19 cases in the province, especially high positivity rate in major cities, during the current third wave.
“All markets, businesses and shops except those dealing in essential services will remain closed from May 8 to 16,” read the notification.
It added that the essential services included grocery stores, pharmacies, medical facilities, vaccination centres, vegetable and fruit shops, poultry and meat shops, bakeries, filling pumps, food takeaways, and e-commerce (home delivery).
The utility services, including the supply of electricity and natural gas, Internet, cellular and telecom networks, call centres and media, were exempted from the ban.
Govt orders strict action against violators
The government also imposed a complete ban on all chand raat bazaars, including mehndi, jewellery and clothing stalls, throughout the province.
The business centres and markets, which used to be packed with shoppers on chand raat (the night before Eid), will remain closed from May 8 and May 16 to stem the spread of coronavirus.
The government also banned visits to tourist spots across the province, including Nathiagali, Kalam, Malam Jabba, Kumrat, Kaghan, Naran, Galyat and Swat.
The people usually throng these places on the second and third days of Eid and stay there for a couple of days
“There shall be a complete ban on tourism from May 8 to May 16, including Eid Holidays,” read the notification.
It added that all tourist resorts, public parks, hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and places around tourist spots would be closed during the period. Also, all roads leading to tourist places will remain be closed with a special focus on such spots in Kalam area of Swat, Galyat in Abbottabad, and Kaghan and Naran in Mansehra.
The provincial government also instructed deputy commissioners of all relevant districts to plan the enforcement of the standard operating procedures issued by the government for the control of Covid-19. It also restricted the people’s movement and public transport.
“There shall be a complete ban on travel. Inter-provincial, inter-cities and intra-city public transport and bus stands shall remain closed during Eid holidays except private vehicles, taxis/cabs, rickshaws with 50 per cent occupancy, and goods transport,” said the notification.
It added that all authorities concerned had been asked to take action against the violators of the restrictions under the relevant laws.
The government has already closed educational institutions for in-person learning in the districts recording more than five per cent Covid-19 positivity rate, and called for the holding of online classes. It allowed commercial activities up to 6pm five days a week and banned all business activities expect essential services on weekends.
A ban was also slapped on the inter-district and inter-provincial transport service on weekends. The Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit Service also remains closed during these days.
Published in Dawn, May 2nd, 2021