Chandigarh: All shops except those dealing with essential items remained shut in Punjab, Haryana and UT Chandigarh with weekend lockdown restrictions coming into force on Saturday amid rising coronavirus cases.
The Punjab government had announced weekend lockdown in all cities and towns on Thursday, while authorities in Haryana and Chandigarh ordered the closure of all shops except those providing essential services on Friday to check the spread of COVID-19.
Punjab, Haryana and UT Chandigarh have come up with stricter restrictions in the wake of rising cases of the infection.
While in Punjab and Haryana, the COVID tally has reached 39,327 and 52,129 respectively, in Chandigarh, there are 2,631 cases so far.
Shopkeepers who were dealing with non-essential commodities kept their shops shut in both states and their common capital Chandigarh.
Unlike on weekdays, a lesser number of people were visible on roads at most of the places on Saturday.
Policemen inadequate strength were also deployed in all the cities to ensure the implementation of weekend lockdown, officials said.
In Punjab’s Phagwara, Ashok Kultham, president of Cloth Merchant Association, said all the shops will religiously follow the state government’s lockdown guidelines.
“We have kept all our shops closed,” he said.
A station house officer (city) in Phagwara Onkar Singh Brar claimed that the weekend lockdown was completely observed.
He said policemen were advising people to wear masks otherwise strict action would be taken against them.
The SHO said eight men were held and their three vehicles were impounded on Friday night for violating the night curfew.
In Hoshiarpur also, most of the markets wore a deserted look but shops of essential items like medicines, vegetables, milk, etc. remained open.
Hoshiarpur Deputy Commissioner Apneet Riyait has directed the officials concerned to ensure strict compliance of Section 144, prohibiting gathering of more than five persons.
Senior Superintendent of Police Navjot Singh Mahal said flag marches were being conducted at various places in Hoshiarpur.
In Ludhiana, general secretary of the Punjab Beopar Mandal Sunil Mehra welcomed the move of the government, saying such restrictions are required to curb the spread of COVID 19 which is already increasing at an alarming pace.
He, however, demanded that the lockdown should be imposed on days other than the weekend as restrictions on Saturdays and Sundays would affect trading activity in Ludhiana.
In Moga, a police official said that they had been issuing challans to people who were not wearing masks.
Besides weekend lockdown, the Punjab government had also announced to extend the night curfew by two hours from 7 pm till 5 am in all the cities.
In Punjab, shops and shopping malls would remain closed on Saturdays and Sundays but shops dealing with essential goods would remain open till 6.30 pm, as per the orders.
Only home delivery of food items has been allowed by restaurants, which could open till 6.30 pm on weekends.
Liquor shops in both Punjab and Haryana are allowed to remain open but in Chandigarh, such shops will remain closed during weekends.