KARACHI: The Sindh government on Sunday allowed all the markets in the province to resume business activities from tomorrow after successful negotiations between the traders’ alliance and Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.
According to traders leader Hammad Poonawala, shopping centres, malls will continue to remain closed while markets across the province will operate from 6am till 5pm.
“Shops will open tomorrow from 06:00am to 05:00pm,” a Sindh government spokesperson said, adding that shops will start closing from 4pm.
The spokesperson further said there was a consensus on the SOPs between the traders and the provincial government.
Sindh Chief Minister in a video message said that priority for the government was the health and safety of the public.
“We keep talking to the federal government now and then. We had reservations against the opening of airports and public transport,” Shah said. “The federal government wanted to open businesses at night, which we rejected.”
“The federal government accepted out recommendations”, the chief minister said, adding that it was on us to keep the businesses closed.
“This decision was taken by all the four provinces,” he added.
The chief minister further said they were trying to get loans for small businesses and an ordinance in this regard was sent. “The governor has sent the ordinance back which we will resend after making changes.”
Earlier, the Sindh government had rejected reports of the lockdown being lifted in the province from Monday.
A tweet from CM House’s Twitter handle said: “[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.”
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, he 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 said.
He categorically mentioned that “air, train, and public transport would continue to remain closed”.
“Our lockdown is linked to our data,” CM Shah said, adding that Sindh’s provincial health capacity was currently at 20%.
“We will consistently adjust our protective measures according to our capacity,” CM Shah said.
The provincial government had already given a conditional permission to start online businesses from Monday to Thursday between 9am to 3pm.
Businesses, foremost are required to pledge they will “undertake to conduct business fully on-line/on phone”, said a five-page notification released by the home department.
They must then “give such undertaking before opening their business and shall be applicable to all persons engaged in such business including Owners, Proprietor, as well as their staff/workers, delivery persons etc”.