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Punjab smog holidays: What will remain open?

Punjab smog holidays: What will remain open?

طوبیٰ Tooba 8 months ago 0 2

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Commuters make their way amid heavy smog along a road, in Lahore. — Online/File
Commuters make their way amid heavy smog along a road, in Lahore. — Online/File
  • Pharmacies, medical facilities and petrol pumps are allowed to open. 
  • Shopping malls and markets will be closed on Saturday and Sunday. 
  • Decision will remain in effect in Lahore, Gujranwala and other areas. 

In a bid to avoid inconvenience to the public, the Punjab caretaker government on Thursday revised its notification and exempted call centers and international IT centers from the “lockdown” imposed in multiple districts of the province to bring the pollution levels down.

A day earlier, the provincial government announced a public holiday on November 10 (Friday) in Lahore, Gujranwala, and other districts due to prevailing smog in the province.

“It is notified for general information that a Public Holiday shall be observed on 10th November 2023 (Friday) in Lahore Division (District Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura, Kasur), District Gujranwala, District Hafizabad, District Sialkot & District Narowal, due to smog, except those offices exempted by Primary & Secondary Healthcare Department,” read the notification.

In a revised notification, the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department of the province notified that call centres and international information technology centres will be allowed to operate on Friday (November 10).

These will remain open

Pharmacies, medical facilities, vaccination centers, petrol pumps, oil depots, tandoors, bakeries, grocery and Karyana stores, dairy shops, sweet shops, vegetable, and fruit shops, chicken and meat shops were also exempted from the restrictions.

Postal and courier services, e-commerce, cellular networks, and telecom centers will also remain open on October 10.

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.

Yesterday, an environmental and health emergency had also 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.

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