VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): Vientiane authorities have ordered shops and markets that sell items that are not absolutely essential to close until Sept 30, as an additional measure to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.
The capital’s Department of Industry and Commerce has issued an instruction on the closure of retail outlets, which comes into force Monday (Sept 20).
The instruction requires businesses, shopping malls, department stores, supermarkets, minimarts, night markets, and shops as well as retail and wholesale shops selling non-essential items to close.
The sale items in question are clothing, construction materials, housewares, cosmetics, electrical appliances, and mobile phones. The instruction comes just one day after the government authorised Vientiane authorities to impose a full lockdown in the capital following a new cluster of Covid-19 cases.
Several hundred cases of the virus have been reported daily in recent days, prompting authorities to impose more restrictions.
In its instruction, the Vientiane Department of Industry and Commerce permits markets that sell agricultural produce, food, food ingredients and takeaway food to remain open.
Opening times are limited to 6am-6pm and services must comply with all Covid-19 prevention and control measures. Petrol stations may also remain open during the same hours.
All business service providers are required to strictly comply with Covid-19 prevention and control measures and to ensure their staff are fully vaccinated.
Authorities have warned vendors not to raise prices unreasonably nor to stockpile goods for personal gain. Vendors are also prohibited from selling alcohol beverages.
Businesses that violate Covid-19 prevention and control rules, including failure to check people’s temperature, provide handwashing facilities on entry and advise customers to wear a face mask, will be fined 10 million kip for a first infringement.
Repeat violations will result in the business licence being revoked and terminated.
Individuals who break the rules, especially with regard to social distancing, will be fined up to 3 million kip per offence.