During the meeting in Karachi on Sunday, the Sindh government and traders associations have finalized standard operating procedures (SOPs) for continuing business activities during the lockdown.
As per sources familiar with the development, businesses have been classified into three main categories with each having further subsections, except one which has five.
Each sector will be allowed to operate eight hours a day (9 to 5) for two days a week, given they follow predefined SOPs. The markets found in violation of the SOPs will be sealed.
Under the new guidelines, grocery stores, utilities, meat shops, and other relevant shops will remain closed for two days a week. Only medical stores, pharmacies, bakeries, and milk shops have been allowed to operate seven days a week.
Likewise, there will be special SOPs established for Eid shopping and will be applicable from the mid of Ramadan.
As per sources, the automobile sector including car showrooms, mechanic shops, and other associated businesses will operate on the same day.
Similarly, the garments sector, including boutiques, garments shops, tailors, embroidery shops and other relevant businesses fall in the same category and will also work on the same day.
Meanwhile, the traders of household items, such as furniture, carpets, bedding, crockery and articles made of plastic are grouped together. They will work on the same day as electronic appliances businesses, mobile markets, and electronics and mobile repair shops.
Meanwhile, businesses related to industrial materials/items, like motor and engineering services, repair shops, and chemicals fall into another category.
Moreover, the construction sector and its sub-sections, dealing in construction goods, carpenter shops, hardware stores, sanitary shops, and markets selling iron and wood items will operate on the same days, twice a week.
Relaxations on Offer
Sources claimed that the government hinted at further easing the restrictions given strict adherence to SOPs and other precautionary guidelines.
The provincial government is also going to ease restrictions on the transport sector, and an announcement will be made soon in this regard.
Moreover, the Sindh government has assured small traders of tax waivers and refunds for those who already paid. It also promised easy loans for as low as on 2 percent markup for the businesses who don’t lay off employees due to the financial crunch.