The government today extended prohibitory orders in Kathmandu valley by seven days, allowing private vehicles and taxis to operate on an odd-even basis, as coronavirus cases have declined in the past week or so.

A meeting of chief district officers of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Lalitpur took a decision to this effect, extending prohibitory orders with relaxations from early morning of June 22 to June 28 mid-night.

The current order will expire from mid-night of June 21.

As per the relaxed prohibitory orders, private vehicles and taxis with odd registration numbers can ply on odd dates according to the Nepali calendar, whereas vehicles with even registration numbers can ply on even dates. Private vehicles have been barred from plying since April 29 after a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The order continues to bar public vehicles, except taxis, from plying the roads.

Once the relaxed orders come into force, four-wheelers can ferry not more than four persons, whereas taxis can operate ferrying not more than three persons.

Vehicles carrying essential goods, including medical and agriculture equipment, government vehicles, internet, telephone, cargo, courier, and waste managing vehicles, can ply without any obstructions.

Moreover, shops selling non-essential items can now open between 11:00am and 4:00pm on alternate days of week. On Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, shops selling jewellery, utensils, electronic goods, vehicular goods, and household products are allowed to open.

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, shopping malls and shops selling sports equipment, cosmetics, and gifts are allowed to operate.

Shops selling construction goods and hardware shops can operate from 11:00am to 6:00pm every day.

Shops and departmental stores selling essential consumer products, such as drinking water, vegetables, fruits, meat, dairy products, agriculture produce, stationery, and grocery could operate daily until 11:00am. Bar on street vendors and vegetable carts will get stricter.

Bar on mass gatherings at public places, seminars, mass protests, rallies, and other functions will continue. Cinema halls, party palaces, bars and dance restaurants, swimming pools, and gymnasiums shall remain shut. Bar on libraries, museums, zoos, and gaming events with spectators shall continue.

Bar on in-house dining in restaurants will continue, but they can remain open till 7:00pm for takeaway.

Marriages or religious functions with less than 10 guests will be allowed if held at homes, not at party palaces.

It goes without saying that all those indulging in businesses will have to follow health protocols.

Ban on movement of government officials has also been lifted and government offices dealing with public will remain open.

Travel restrictions of banks and financial institutions have also been relaxed and they can now operate with minimum staff.

Schools and colleges will have to impart distance learning, as bar on physical presence of students in schools and colleges will continue.

Journalists with valid cards from the Department of Information will be allowed to commute; passes issued by DAOs inside the valley will be scrapped as per the new rule.

A version of this article appears in the print on June 21, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.