President orders northern shops to remain open till 10 pm daily

All shops, including grocery and textile shops, eateries and pharmacies in the Jaffna peninsula, have been requested to keep their establishments open until 10 p.m. daily on a directive by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. This is aimed at reviving business in the region, officials said.

Northern Province Governor P.S.M. Charles on Friday presided over a meeting with representatives from the District Secretariat, Police, the Sri Lanka Transport Board, private bus operators, hoteliers and traders to convey the decision.

Jaffna District Secretary K. Mahesan told the Sunday Times the proposal’s aim was to increase business opportunities by keeping the establishments open and giving a message that normalcy is being maintained in the region.

He said the proposal would also create more job opportunities as employees might have to work on a shift basis while the transport sector too would have more passengers.

Arrangements have also been made to maintain bus services late into the night in contrast to the present situation where most bus services are stopped by about 8 p.m.

Jaffna Traders Association President T. Jayasekaran said the move would help to increase trading that was affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the curfew.

“We are receiving more local tourists and the move will help to cater to their needs also,” he said.

Mr. Jayasekaran said keeping the shops open at night would also help the transportation process as products could be packed and transported at night time.

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