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Govt yet to lift curbs on public gatherings, recreation centres

  • Special Correspondent
  • 10 August, 2021 12:00 AM
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Although the government has decided to run all public transport, government and non-government offices, banks, shopping malls and markets across the country from Wednesday, it is yet to lift curbs on public gathering and recreation centres.

"Recreation centres are not allowed to reopen while public gatherings are still prohibited," Cabinet Secretary Khandaker Anwarul Islam said on Monday.

Speaking at a press briefing after the weekly Cabinet meeting, the secretary said local administration, police, bus owners and workers will have to ensure that half of the total number of buses plies the roads.

In a notification on Sunday, the Cabinet Division said the nationwide strict lockdown will not be extended past its current deadline on Tuesday.

Starting from Wednesday, all offices, banks, financial institutions, factories and markets will reopen maintaining the government-issued health safety protocols strictly.

Public transport services on land, rail, and waterways have been cleared to resume operations transporting passengers a full capacity.

However, in the case of road transport, local administrations – after consulting law enforcement agencies, offices and agencies concerned, as well as transport owners’ and workers’ associations in their jurisdictions – can allow half the number of vehicles to run every day, says the notification.

Shopping malls, markets and shops are allowed to stay open from 10:00am to 8:00pm.

All factories will be able to operate as before.

Restaurants can stay open from 8:00am to 10:00pm, but only take half their capacity of dine-in customers.

Authorities concerned must ensure the maintenance of the government-issued health safety protocols to contain Covid-19 transmission on all modes of transport, the circular added.

Violation of health safety regulations might lead to legal consequences, and the authorities concerned would have to bear them, it further said.

Meanwhile, excepting passenger buses, all kinds of transports, mostly private cars, microbuses and motorbikes, plied different streets in the capital on Monday, just one day before ending the last spell of the nationwide 14-day strict lockdown.

Traffic congestion was seen at some points, including Mirpur Road and Airport Road, Farmgate, Karwan Bazar and Kakrail areas, in the capital.

Private cars and rickshaws are mainly dominating the roads.

However, public transport, except few three-wheelers, remained off from streets.

As many offices are allowing physical presence of staff, people were seen rushing to work in the morning.

Officer-goers, who do not have cars or office transport, took rickshaws paying extra fare. Many of them took rickshaw-vans and some walked long distances to reach office.  

Presence of traffic police were less compared to other days during lockdown. There were no traffic police at many of the check-posts on Monday. 

The strict lockdown started on July 23, which will end on August 10 midnight.