Shillong (Meghalaya), June 20 : The state government has decided to allow re-opening of one of the biggest traditional markets in the state, Iewduh from Monday and re-opening of weekly markets across the state from June 29.
The decision was taken after an inspection was also conducted at Iewduh market by the state Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong and was accompanied by Health Minister, A. L. Hek, Urban Affairs Minister, Hamletson Dohling, Director of Health Services (MI), Dr. Aman War, the district Deputy Commissioner, Matsiewdor War Nongbri and other government officials.
The decision was taken in consultation with the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) and Hima Mylliem.
There are a total of 1,222 shops in Iewduh market.
“Only 30 up to 33 per cent of the total strength of the shops will be allowed to be operational on rotational basis but SOPs and protocol has to be adhered to in totality, said State Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong .
He added that the government has also decided to allow re-opening of weekly markets throughout the state from June 29.
However, border haats along international border with Bangladesh and markets along the inter-state with Assam will remain closed until further orders.
Selling of vegetable, fish and meat will not be allowed in Iewduh market as they already have alternative markets created for them in other parts of the city.
The State government has also made it mandatory to constitute ‘Market COVID-19 Management Committees’ which are tasked with ensuring strict compliance with the ‘Health Protocol For Markets’ .
As per this protocol, the Market Covid-19 Management Committees will also lay down fines for shop owners or people who do not wear masks or spit in open or public places.
The market committees must also ensure that regular sanitization of the markets is carried out before and after business hours and also ensure that frequently touched parts like door handles, knobs are regularly cleaned.
Market committees must ensure that customers bring their own bags and avoid the use of plastic bags as much as possible to minimise the chance of spread of the virus, as it lasts longer on smooth and non-porous surfaces in comparison to porous surfaces like cloth.
The shopkeepers meanwhile are responsible for maintaining physical distance between the customers and should avoid crowding at all times. The shopkeepers and vendors must also wear masks properly by covering their nose, mouth and chin parts of the face at all times.
Customers, on the other hand, are directed to not to shake hands, come into direct contact or hug each other in greeting. All customers should also wear mask all the time while purchasing thing from the market. They should practice hand- hygiene and physical distancing.
They should also spend the minimal time in any shop as more exposure might lead to cross-infections.
All markets are also to ensure adequate facilities for hand washing and hand sanitization and also encourage cashless transactions, wherever feasible to minimise direct contact.
Garbage and waste disposal protocols as per CPCB must be ensured and there must not be any littering in the market area.
The protocol have also set provisions for the vendors in weekly haats and roadside markets where social distancing of at least 2 meters must be maintained at all times.
The protocol also states that there should be adequate hand washing facility in the market areas.
Vendors should use masks and gloves at all times while masks are mandatory for customers (even while speaking to vendors).
Vendors should be encouraged to keep prepacked portions to minimise direct contact.
Health advisories in local languages should be displayed prominently at entry points and there should be a separate exit point in the markets.
The people should be discouraged from sharing of cigarettes, bidis, chewing tobacco or betel nuts and leaves.
People should be encouraged to bring their own carry bags and garbage and waste disposal protocols as per CPCB must be ensured wherein there must not be any littering in the market area.