Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have withdrawn coronavirus lockdown restrictions, allowing reopening of most of the sectors which had been closed for months due to the pandemic. The Punjab Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department withdrew the government’s lockdown order, allowing resumption of ‘pre-Covid-19 practices subject to adoption of SOPs/guidelines’. On Monday, the Sindh government too said it was allowing businesses to resume operations, noting that it had agreed with the decision of a majority of the provinces despite “some difference of opinion on opening up”. The KP government also issued a similar order. According to the notification issued by the Punjab health department, all sectors barring marriage halls/marquees and educational institutions have been allowed to resume operations from Monday, with timings and weekly holidays ‘reverted to pre-Covid-19 practice’. Furthermore, religious congregations will only be held after approval from the administration and will be bound to follow the standard operating procedures laid out by the government. Operators of public transport – that has been allowed to resume function – will also have to ensure that preventive measures are being observed by passengers. In its order, the Sindh home department said businesses have been allowed to reopen subject to “strict adherence” of SOPs in view of the decline in Covid-19 cases in the country, but acknowledged that “the disease is still prevalent and likely to increase if no adequate precautions are taken”. Educational institutions, marriage halls, business and expo centres in the province will be allowed to reopen from September 15. According to the order, which will remain in effect until Sept 15, businesses in Sindh will be allowed to open six days a week, with an off on either Friday of Sunday except pharmacies and essential services. Their timings will be from 6am to 8pm except on Saturday when they will remain open until 9pm. Businesses will be required to allow only around one-third of their normal capacity of visitors/customers inside their establishments at a time to ensure social distancing. Restaurants and cafes will be allowed to operate all days of the week but with limited dine-in services until 10pm daily except on Saturday when they can stay open until 11pm. The last order must be taken an hour before closing. Customers must be seated with a distance of over three feet between them. Takeaway will be allowed from morning until 10pm on all days of the week except Saturday, when it will be permitted until 11pm. Home delivery of food will be allowed from morning until midnight (12am). Businesses will be bound to maintain a distance of more than three feet between customers, staff or visitors and deny entry to persons showing Covid-19 symptoms or those not wearing a mask. According to the rules, no procession or gathering will be allowed which has not been given permission for in advance including during religious festivals and national holidays. “The provincial government/district administration, by an order, may restrict all/any activity/area which is identified as [a] hotspot/high risk for the spread of Covid-19,” the order stated. It urged the public to avoid all places with the potential of crowding and “where absolutely essential to attend”, wear a face mask and strictly observe hand hygiene and social distancing protocols. Meanwhile, the KP home and tribal affairs department in a notification said businesses were being allowed to resume operations in the wake of the decisions taken by the National Coordination Committee, “subject to observance of SOPs”. From August 10, the province will allow all sectors to operate except marriage halls/marquees and educational institutions. All religious congregations will be allowed after approval of the concerned administration, according to the notification. Timings and weekly holidays of businesses will be “reverted to the pre-Covid-19 practice”.