Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday announced that the shops in green and orange zones across the state will remain open from 9 am to 1 pm with effect from Sunday. There would be no relaxations in areas demarcated as red and containment zones, officials said.
"Shops in Punjab will open in the green and orange zones, across districts, from 9 am to 1 pm beginning tomorrow," Singh said in a statement here.
The decision to change the timing from the current slot of 7-11 am was taken in response to requests from people in various districts to let shops after 9 am, he said.
The issue also came up for discussion during a Cabinet meeting and there was a consensus that the timing should be changed in public interest, the statement said.
The chief minister has asked the chief secretary to issue the necessary directives to the deputy commissioners to notify the change.
Singh also made it clear that anyone found venturing out of their homes without wearing a mask would be strictly dealt with, the statement added.
The chief minister said he had issued strict directives to the police department in this regard.
The relaxations come with strict protocols, which the people need to follow, he said, adding that the relief had been provided to make life easier and not for people to come out unnecessarily.
The CM also directed the police to come down heavily on those found violating the curfew restrictions or otherwise disrupting the state's law and order, the statement further said.
"We will not tolerate such actions," Singh warned, adding that no laxity would be allowed in this regard, with section 144 also strictly in place.
The CM said his government would make all possible arrangements to bring back its people from other states and to facilitate those stranded in Punjab, including migrant labourers, to return home.
The government was working in close coordination with other states on this issue and the Centre has been requested to arrange special trains, which would be done after a few days as the Railways was currently managing the transportation of migrants from southern India, he added.