Smart lockdown imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for another 15 days till July 30 in Punjab, read a notification issued on Tuesday. Educational institutions, wedding halls, restaurants and cinema houses among other public places across the province will remain closed during the lockdown. Meanwhile, the education department and schools in the province will reopen for administrative staff and teachers from today, July 15.The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government decided to allow schools to reopen following approval from the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC). Employees of the Elementary and Secondary Education Department (ESED) and staff of schools will be asked to ensure that cleanliness and anti-coronavirus measures are implemented.On the other hand, Punjab Minister for Industries and Trade Mian Aslam Iqbal has said that marriage halls will be opened in the first week of September in case of improvement in the corona conditions. He was talking to a delegation of Punjab Marriage Halls Association led by Mian Muhammad Ilyas at PBIT Office on Tuesday. During the meeting matters pertaining to difficulties arising due to closure of marriage halls and opening up marriage halls came under discussion.Aslam Iqbal remarked that every sector has been badly affected due to corona pandemic and thanked Allah Almighty that corona situation is improving in the country. He maintained that he would put up the matter regarding opening marriage halls and permission for outdoor catering before the Cabinet Committee and NCOC meeting. He highlighted that livelihood of thousands of families is linked with the marriage industry and added that it is the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan to set the wheel of business and industries rolling. He lauded that Prime Minister wants to save the masses not only from economic constraints but also from the dangers of corona pandemic. He commended that smart lockdown policy adopted by Prime Minster Imran Khan has proved to be beneficial and result-oriented.He outlined that PTI government is not interested to close down businesses and was compelled to shutdown few businesses due to corona pandemic. He assured them that the government would open closed businesses when the coronavirus situation improves. He assured the delegation members that the government would give tax relief to the marriage halls due to closure of their businesses along with confronting economic difficulties.Speaking on the occasion, President Punjab Marriage Halls Association Mian Muhammad Ilyas thanked the Minister for sparing time to meet them and also listening to their problems sympathetically. The delegation members assured the Minister that they would fully ensure implementation on the SOPs issued by the government in case of opening of marriage halls. The delegation members included President Marriage Halls Association Mian Khalid Idrees Bhatti, Senior Vice President Malik Aqeel Sarwar, General Secretary Rao Tariq Islam and others.Meanwhile, marriage halls in the Sindh province will be allowed to reopen before August 02 after the marriage halls association and the provincial government held successful talks on Tuesday, ARY NEWS reported.Head of the Marriage Halls Association Rana Raees while confirming the development said that the government had agreed to reopen the halls before August 02.“The government has sought recommendations on SOPs from the owners,” he said adding that comprehensive precautionary measures will be devised after consultations.He said that the marriage halls would completely abide by the government SOPs.It is pertinent to mention here that the Punjab government on Monday announced to reopen marriage halls in the province from the first week of the September amid country-wide protest from the halls association over continuous closure of businesses during coronavirus pandemic.According to details, the Marriage Halls Association on Monday threatened to march towards the Chief Minister House in Karachi if they were not allowed to resume their businesses under devised coronavirus SOPs.Addressing protestors outside the Karachi Press Club, Head of the Marriage Halls Association Rana Raees said that wedding halls remained shut till today due to the coronavirus pandemic. “The government has allowed other businesses to reopen under devised SOPs, however they remain reluctant to allow halls to operate,” he said.He said that they had given a demo to the government to reopen marriage halls while following the SOPs.“We have gone bankrupt due to the ongoing financial crisis amid the pandemic,” he said and demanded of the government to allow the halls to operate under the SOPs.He further warned that in case of a continuing ban, they could extend the scope of their protest and could march towards the chief minister’s house for the approval of their demands.