KARACHI: The Sindh government on Friday issued Ramadan guidelines for businesses operating in the province, making some allowances to help them resume partial activities.
A meeting with Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah in the chair was held today to review lockdown timings and finalise SOPs for businesses during the holy month.
According to the details provided, traders will be allowed to open shops from Monday to Thursday from 9-3pm, but for e-commerce and home delivery services only.
It was also decided that grocery shops will continue to follow the lockdown timings, i.e. 8am-5pm.
However, the dairy milk shops have been given permission to operate from 8am-8pm
“There will be complete lockdown after 5pm,” CM Murad Ali Shah said, adding “home delivery of cooked food is allowed from 5-10pm.”
The home department will issue a detailed SOP and a notification for businesses for the holy month, the chief minister said.
“The federal government in consultation with provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and Islamabad at the National Coordination Committee (NCC) engaged with ulema and the President of Pakistan” and formed consensus over a 20 point agreement on “conditionally conducting mandatory congregational prayers at mosques keeping in view COVID-19 situation,” a statement said.
Furthermore, the sale of “samosa, pakora, jalaibi, fruit-chat, and such traditional iftar items” which attract a huge crowd cannot be sold in the markets. However, these items may be delivered through home delivery services, for which SOPs have already been issued.
“Any person found violating [the mentioned] instructions shall be liable for action in accordance with law as per section 4 of Sindh Epidemic Disease Control Act 2014,” the statement added.
Restrictions on Taraweeh
In a late night message on Thursday, Shah had announced that congregational Taraweeh prayers in mosque premises will only be offered by the mosque’s administration (4-5 people). The decision is applicable throughout the province.
He urged that Friday prayers and Taraweeh prayers by the general public be offered at home.
The chief minister said that he had spoken to President Arif Alvi in this regard and had received his nod for the decision.
“The president said it is up to the provincial government,” said Shah.
Shah said taking such “difficult decisions” are a government’s responsibility and this decision was taken especially keeping in mind doctors’ recommendations.
Shah said that on Friday, as had been the practice over the past four Fridays, a strict lockdown would be imposed between 12pm and 3pm, during which movement by people will be banned and congregations of more than five people in mosques prohibited.