The Punjab government on Thursday revised the terms of the lockdown imposed in multiple districts of the province as major cities grapple with crippling fog.
In its amended notification, the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department of the province notified that call centres and international information technology companies will be allowed to operate during the lockdown.
While markets in the eight smog-hit districts will be allowed to operate today and tomorrow; however, shopping malls and markets will be closed on Saturday and Sunday.
The notification also states that cinema halls, restaurants and gyms will remain open today as per routine.
The decision will remain in effect in Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Gujranwala Narowal, Hafizabad and Sialkot.
A day earlier, an environmental and health emergency had been declared in Lahore, Gujranwala, and Hafizabad divisions for four days due to the prevailing smog conditions.
Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi made the announcement during a press conference on Tuesday when the air quality index (AQI) in the city measured 390, falling under the category of hazardous.
At this AQI level, the city maintained its position as one of the most polluted cities with citizens experiencing a hazy and smoggy atmosphere throughout the day. The air quality was severely poor, making it nearly impossible to breathe normally outdoors.
Notification issued on Tuesday detailed that from Thursday to Sunday i.e., November 9, 2023, to November 12, 2023, all markets, shopping malls, restaurants, cinemas, gymnasiums, schools (public and private), and offices (public and private) will remain closed in Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Gujranwala Narowal, Hafizabad and Sialkot.
Also, the movement of people will be limited to and from these areas by public and private transport.
The following will be exempted from closure:
- Pharmacies/ Medical Stores
- Medical Facilities and Vaccination Centers
- Petrol Pumps
- Oil Depots
- Grocery / Karyana stores
- Milk / Dairy Shops
- Sweet Shops,
- Vegetable / Fruit Shops
- Chicken / Meat Shops
- Postal / Courier Services
- Utility Services (Electricity, Natural Gas, Internet, Cellular Networks /Telecom.
Large departmental stores will only keep their grocery /pharmacy sections open while all other sections will remain closed.
It has been suggested by the government that people buy groceries and medicines within the vicinity of their residence.