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Punjab govt to reopen shopping malls, auto industry from Monday

Punjab govt to reopen shopping malls, auto industry from Monday

LAHORE: Punjab Information Minister Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Chohan has said that as a part of lifting the lockdown in phases, the provincial government will reopen shopping malls and allow the automotive industry to resume operations from Monday.

The minister’s statement came as Punjab recorded more than 14,000 cases of the coronavirus and more than 240 deaths.

Chohan said that the overall situation across the province is satisfactory after the government allowed people to go on about their daily businesses while ensuring the implementation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

The minister said that the decision to either ease or ramp up lockdown restrictions will be taken keeping in view the public response during the coronavirus pandemic.

He said that people can carry out daily activities while making sure they are following the SOPs put in place by the government.

The Punjab minister expressed hope that the public will not take undue advantage of the ease in curbs and act responsibly.

He said the transport industry has also been allowed to resume inter-city travel with the already-agreed SOPs.

Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar has given the nod for inter-city and inter-district transport to reopen and announced a 20% reduction in fares. “We will pass on the benefit of a reduction in petroleum prices to passengers,” said Buzda. It was also decided to allow online taxi services to operate.

Buzdar warned that all services will have to strictly abide by the safety protocols outlined by the government. All passengers, drivers and bus conductors must wear a mask when stepping out of their homes.

All bus operators will be required to make sanitisers available for passengers and ensure proper distancing between people while seated.

It was also decided that shopping malls and power looms will be reopened and churches will be allowed to hold service on Sunday as long as SOPs are followed.