Nepal (partly) open for business

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The nation-wide lockdown imposed to control the spread of COVID-19 was extended for 11 days, running up to 18 May. As of Thursday, 101 people have been infected, of whom 22 have made full recoveries. 

By Friday, the streets of main cities and highways saw more vehicular movement as businesses started to open. However, there appeared to be a lot of confusion among the public as well as enforcement agencies about what is now allowed and what is not. 

Pressure had been mounting on the government to allow essential businesses to reopen in areas with no infections in the past four weeks. Here is a detailed list of what is now open for business:

Now permitted to operate:

  • Production, sales and distribution of medicinal equipment
  • Pharmacies, Ayurvedic and homeopathic services, agrovet and veterinary services
  • Rearing, sales and distribution of livestock, poultry and fishery
  • Production and distribution of industrial equipment
  • Production, storage, sales and distribution of fruits, vegetables and dairy products
  • Harvesting crops, planting
  • Nurseries growing plants and seeds
  • Production and storage of seeds, cold storage of seeds
  • Government and private health facilities, hospitals, nursing homes, polyclinics, diagnostic lab centers, vaccination and other essential medical services
  • Parliamentary Committee meetings
  • Basic banking services
Transportation linked to farming and agriculture products allowed during the lockdown. Photo: BIKRAM RAI

Transport services allowed:

  • Transport of agricultural products
  • Transportation linked to farming
  • Medical vehicles, ambulances
  • Transport of industrial equipment
  • Transport of industrial raw materials and manufactured products 
  • Transport of educational supplies approved by Janak Educational Materials Centre
  • Vehicles of development projects
  • Water supply, gas and petroleum distribution
  • Transport from outside Kathmandu Valley can only carry the driver and one assistant 
  • Transportation of construction material like rods, cement, sand

Nepal prepares for economic fallout of  pandemic, Kaustubh Dhital

Parliamentary committee meetings are also allowed with physical distancing maintained. Photo: BIKRAM RAI

Allowed to function:

  • Projects of national pride
  • Irrigation projects 
  • Drinking water projects 
  • Airport construction 
  • Construction of roads and bridges
  • Construction of government buildings
  • Hydropower projects 
  • Urban development projects
  • Raw material industries, construction material industries
  • Cement production
  • Electricity production and distribution 
  • Brick kilns
  • Machinery parts production
  • Aluminium industries
  • Industrial centres
  • River management projects

Unlocking the economy post lockdown, Sanjib Subba

Brick kilns are now allowed to function. Photo: MONIKA DEUPALA

Businesses allowed:

  • Production, sales and distribution of household food items
  • Water treatment facilities
  • Producers of soap and other medicinal products 
  • Businesses dealing in packaging materials
  • Gas bottling 
  • Vehicle repair workshops
  • Petrol pumps
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians

Institutions that are NOT allowed to open:

  • Educational institutions
  • Cinema, party palaces, fun parks
  • Temples, mosques, monasteries
  • Sporting events
  • Hotels, bars, restaurants, beauty parlors, salons
  • Public transportation without permits
  • Domestic and international flights
  • Cable cars
  • Malls and stores not selling food products
  • Walking outside not permitted for the following: children under 12, adults older than 70, pregnant women and immuno-compromised individuals. 
  • Everyone to observe physical distancing and wear masks