By Sandun A Jayasekera
During the ten-hour period that the curfew was relaxed in 19 districts yesterday, people were seen gathering in numbers at state-run Osu Salas, pharmacies, banks and CWE outlets.
Our provincial correspondents said there was a marked drop of consumers to purchase food stuffs at retail outlets.
However, people were cautious enough to follow health guidelines and kept a safe distance from each other and in many instances, consumers were taken into the trade outlets after checking their temperature, they said.
Curfew was lifted at 6.00 am and re-imposed at 4.00 pm yesterday in 19 districts except the Western Province and in the districts of Kalutara, Puttalam, Kandy and Jaffna. The curfew will remain in force in the 19 districts until 6.00 am on Monday, (20) and the curfew currently in force in the districts of Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Puttalam, Kandy and Jaffna which have been identified as High Risk Zones will continue until further notice, the Presidential Media Division (PMD) said.
Imposing of curfew in these districts after 6.00 am on April 20 will be notified later, the PMD added.
The sole purpose of these measures including the imposing of curfew is to ensure the well-being of the people of this country in this critical situation. Hence, the Government requests the public to bear the inconveniences caused as a result of ongoing curfew in a responsible manner.
Also, the Government emphasizes to purchase only the most essential items and to avoid unnecessary travelling. The Government further requests to limit the traditions and interactions during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year only to the members of the family.
The government has put in place a mechanism to continuously supply essential food and other goods enabling the public to purchase them while at home, during curfew hours,.
Those who are engaged in paddy farming and fishing and cultivation of small tea holdings and export crops in any district are permitted to carry out their activities.
Travelling to and from all districts has been completely prohibited except for the purpose of providing essential services.
Those who misuse regulations introduced with the prime objective of ensuring the smooth and efficient functioning of essential services will be severely be dealt with according to the law.
The villages which have been declared isolated areas in any district will remain in the same category. No one will be allowed to enter or leave from these areas until further notice.