Punjab changes markets, shopping malls timing to 9am to 5pm
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After the end of Eid holidays, the Punjab changed the timings of markets and shopping malls which would now be allowed to open from 9am to 5pm, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Wednesday.
However, the businesses are to be operated during four days a week – Monday to Thursday – as these would remain closed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Meanwhile, medical stores are exempted from these timings as these outlets can operate for 24 hours while bakeries would be able to remain open till 10pm.
The government will issue a new notification about the new timings on Thursday, said 24NewsHD TV channel.
Earlier, the government had allowed the markets and shopping malls to stay open till 10pm during Eid shopping.
On the other hand, a meeting about making decision on tightening or relaxing the lockdown in Punjab while keeping in mind the latest situation would be held on Wednesday or Thursday.
Earlier, it was believed that the markets and shopping malls would remain open from 9am to 7pm after Eid while the decision to reopen restaurants is expected to be taken after a few days.
It was also said that the timings and SOPs regarding the restaurants would be decided by the relevant committee dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – also run by the PTI government – has also announced a similar four-day week and daily timings for markets. But the daily timings for markets in Sindh is 8am to 4pm.
Given the pandemic situation, PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif on Monday expressed his shock and sorrow over the rise in coronavirus cases and deaths in Pakistan, saying the number of affected persons would not have increased exponentially, if there was a well-defined strategy before and after imposition of lockdown.
Shehbaz said a meeting of the Council of Common Interests should be convene immediately for formulating the strategy again while keeping in mind the latest situation.
“Time is running out fast. Pay attention to different aspects according to situation so that the damage could be minimised,” said Shehbaz.
Shehbaz expressed these views as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Pakistan increased by 1,446 during the past 24 hours, raising the overall total to 59,151 on Wednesday.
The same period saw the death of another 28 patients in different parts of the country after which death toll climbed to 1,225.
Similarly, Special Assistant to the PM on Health Dr Zafar Mirza on Monday hinted at a strict lockdown, saying that the number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan was increasing.
During a media briefing in Islamabad, Mirza said the government would evaluate the prevailing situation immediately after Eid and could review the earlier decision of relaxing if the situation got worse.
Also, Ajmal Wazir – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s spokesperson – who said the people were not following the SOPs and lockdown would have to be tightened in case the number of cases continued rising.