Sindh government to expand list of businesses given exemption from COVID-19 lockdown


KARACHI: The Sindh government has agreed to expand the list of businesses that have been granted exemption from the coronavirus lockdown and allowed to resume operations, according to Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani. 

“By tomorrow, we will be able to prepare a list of small and large businesses,” said Ghani, speaking to media after holding a meeting with members of the business community. “The list will be sent to the federal government. We will try to take decisions [on businesses that can be allowed to operate during the lockdown] in a day or two,” he added. 

The minister said that a meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) had taken place in which it was decided to allow some businesses to resume operations. “According to the committee, large markets, shopping malls and departmental stores are still banned [from resuming business],” he said. 

He said that in the first phase, the grey structure of the construction sector was allowed to resume operations. Ghani said that in the second phase, businesses related to the construction sector were allowed to reopen as well. “Everyone’s business and employment have been impacted [by the coronavirus],” he said. 

Sindh government has agreed on reopening shopping malls: Atiq Mir

Traders’ organisation representative Atiq Mir said that Sindh government had agreed to reopen shopping malls. “Tomorrow, we will provide the list to Sindh government regarding which markets need to be reopened,” he said, acknowledging Ghani, Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar and industrialist Siraj Teli for coming to the aid of small traders. 

He said that the Sindh government had shown a lot of flexibility on the issues being faced by the business community during the coronavirus lockdown. Mir said that the provincial government had agreed to let businesses reopen from Monday. 

“Sindh government’s attitude has been positive. Insha’Allah, in two days’ time, businesses shall be reopened,” he said. “I would appeal to the traders to take precautions while conducting business.”

Teli thanked the Sindh government for extending its help to the business community and urged shopkeepers to be careful in conducting their businesses. “Saeed Ghani has promised that they [Sindh government] will talk to the federal government and do their utmost to ensure shops are reopened,” he said. 

CM Murad refutes rumors of ending lockdown, says Sindh entering second phase

“[CM] Murad has categorically said that Sindh was not ending the lockdown on Monday and we are entering the second phase of lockdown with some extra restrictions, particularly at hotspots,” read a tweet from the Chief Minister’s House on Monday. 

The post mentioned that the statement was issued as some media channels were “giving the impression that the lockdown was ending on Monday, which was totally wrong.”

However, the chief minister had said that “minor exemptions will be given to some sectors such as construction phase-2, and isolated shops in neighbourhoods would be allowed to operate under SOPs issued by the government.”

He had categorically mentioned that “air, train, and public transport would continue to remain closed”.

Earlier in the day, CM Murad had declared that the Sindh government would work alongside the Centre to implement the new lockdown measures for the mitigation of the coronavirus outbreak.

“We will implement the federal government’s lockdown decisions to the extent of 99% if not 100%,” he had said.

The chief minister had said that businesses will be allowed to operate five days a week and will remain closed on Saturdays and Sundays, with the exception of those granted exemptions such as grocery stores and pharmacies.

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