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Coronavirus lockdown | Curbs gone? Confusion in Punjab

Police officers requesting a shopkeeper to down shutters in Fatehgarh Sahib district on Thursday.  

After Punjab permitted the opening of shops in a staggered way on rotation for four hours every morning from Thursday, a state of confusion prevailed among shopowners in many parts of the State.

Several shops in the markets at Kharar in Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar district were open between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. Though the owners said the curfew was “relaxed”, the district authorities issued guidelines only later.

The order issued by Deputy Commissioner Girish Dayalan said that in rural areas all shops registered under the Shops and Establishments Act will be allowed to operate with 50% of employees. In urban areas, all stand-alone shops, neighbourhood shops and shops in residential complexes will be allowed to operate.

Single-multi-brand malls or multiplexes or shops in market complexes shall not be allowed.

Saloons to remain shut

“The shops that have been allowed to open are those which deal in goods only. Shops-establishments dealing in services like saloons and barbershops would remain closed...,” the order said.

Attending to customers, Devinder Pal, owner of Pal Boot House, said that after most owners opened their shops in his vicinity, he too did so. “I heard yesterday that the government announced relaxation in the curfew from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., and, therefore, I have opened my shop. I am not aware that shops are to be opened on a rotation basis or after taking permission. If the administration asks me to shut my shop, I’ll do that,” said Mr. Pal.

Supporting the government’s decision to ease the curfew, Mr. Pal said the decision was welcome and the relaxation should continue. “A few customers came as soon as I opened the shop. For over a month, the business had been at a standstill. I have already suffered losses running into thousands of rupees. How long can one continue to suffer losses.”

Across the road, a man running a dry-cleaning shop and who did not want to disclose his name, said the government should give clear instructions. “There’s a confusion among people about the curfew relaxations. The administration should make public announcements about the situation to clear the confusion,” he said.

Meanwhile, Punjab reported one more COVID-19 death, taking the number to 20, and 105 fresh cases, an official statement said.


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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 11:14:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-lockdown-curbs-gone-confusion-in-punjab/article31476699.ece

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