Lockdown eased in Kathmandu valley, prohibitory orders extended till Sept 16
- Shops selling non-essential stuff can open three days a week
- Odd-even rule back
- Groceries can open for two hours in evening as well
- Public vehicles can ply
KATHMANDU: District administration offices of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur today extended the ongoing prohibitory orders in their districts by a week till the midnight of September 16, with many relaxations.
Gatherings in open spaces for any purpose, protests, mass gatherings, seminars, sports gatherings and congregations in religious places will remain barred in the three districts; party palaces, educational institutions and salons will remain closed.
DAOs have also prohibited the transportation of workers for industries and factories without following health protocols.
Transport entrepreneurs can operate public transport vehicles that carry more than 16 passengers. Taxis can carry three passengers and two more children if they are from the same family and below five years of age. Public vehicles cannot allow more than one passenger in one row and cannot carry more than half the capacity of their vehicles. Sanitisers will have to be kept at the entrance for passengers’ use and bus drivers and conductors will have to wear masks and gloves.
As per the new provision, private and public vehicles will have to follow the odd-even rule, with odd-numbered vehicles plying on odd dates according to Nepali calendar and even-numbered vehicles plying on even dates. Operators will have to sanitise their vehicles every day.
Two-wheelers can operate but they will have to follow health safety measures.
Shops dealing in food items, vegetables and fruits can remain open from early morning till 11:00 am and from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
Vehicles used to ferry construction materials can operate between 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm, without following odd-even rule.
Shops providing takeaway services and online delivery can operate between 12:00 pm and 7:00 pm and cooperatives can operate between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm ensuring health safety measures.
Shopping malls and garment, shoes and cosmetic stores can open on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, ensuring health protocols. Shops dealing in kitchenware can operate on Sunday, Tuesday and Friday. Furniture and automobile shops can operate only on Monday and Wednesday.
Street vendors, pushcart traders, electric goods stores and departmental stores can operate from early morning till 11:00 am and from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Motor workshops can operate from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm ensuring health safety measures. Industries and factories that will open will have to provide food and accommodation to their staff and workers will have to follow health safety measures on industrial premises.
People who give their nasal and throat swabs to laboratories for COVID-19 tests should strictly follow home quarantine rules. DAOs have stated that ward offices in Kathmandu valley will monitor the compliance of home quarantine rules.
Educational institutions can operate online class as per the line ministry’s rules.
Yesterday, Nepal Automobile Dealers Association had threatened to defy the government if it extended prohibitory order again. NADA had issued a press release urging all businesspersons to commence regular business from September 10. Public transport operators today decided to operate short-, medium and long-route vehicles from September 17 if the government did not make a decision on those lines by then.
Senior Vice-president of Federation of Nepali National Transport Entrepreneurs Vijay Swar said they were forced to decide on operating vehicles as investors were losing investment and around one million transport workers faced starvation like situation. “If the government does not want us to operate our vehicles, then it must ensure food for workers,” Swar said.
He said public vehicle operators were ready to follow health protocols and work in cooperation with district chief officers. “Passengers can be asked to undergo RDT tests.
“Those who test positive can be asked to undergo PCR tests, others should be allowed to travel,” Swar said. He said halting of public transport forced people to hire private vehicles for up to Rs 50,000 for one trip and such trips led to the spread of COVID-19.
A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 10, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.