Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

The business communities in Samdrupjongkhar thromde signed an undertaking letter with the dzongkhag’s Covid-19 task force stating they would implement Covid-19 preventive measures strictly  yesterday.

The undertaking letter mandates the shopkeepers to ensure all customers use Druk Trace app before entering the shops, wear mask, wash their hands before entering and exiting the shops, maintain a metre gap and follow strict physical distancing and maintain proper visitor’s register for those without a smartphone.

Although the shops have Druk Trace app and handwashing facilities, it was not implemented strictly before. Few of the Druk Trace app QR code scanning in the shops was not functioning.

Meanwhile, the task force approved the standard operation procedure (SoP) for shopkeepers, service agencies, and individuals.

As per the SoP, the monitoring team would monitor business owners’ basic preventive measures and sales assistance whether they ask the customers to follow the safety measures as their fundamental duties.

“The monitoring team would also carry out or deploy any source for covert operation to take photos and video clips if the shopkeepers do not adhere to the procedures,” it stated.

The SoP also states that people violating the rules for first time would be summoned to the police station to provide statement and they would be issued warning. “In the second time, they would be summoned to the task force committee for warning. People violating the procedures for the third time would be asked to do community service or social contributions for Covid-19 preventive measures.”

It also stated that shopkeepers violating the procedure and not contributing community service would be charged to court for penal offences.

The eastern Covid-19 task force member(EC-19TF), Gempo, said the signing of an undertaking letter is not only confined to Samdrupjongkhar but it is also implemented in other dzongkhags since last year. “It is initiated mainly to deter the shopkeepers and public and hold them accountable for health protocols.”

He said such initiative is not to penalise the shopkeepers but to make them accountable and responsible to prevent the spread of Covid-19 by adhering to the safety protocols. “It is everyone’s fundamental duties to follow Covid-19 preventive measures and make everyone follow.”

Shopkeepers said that such initiatives are good for the shopkeepers, as it would help both the shopkeepers and customers to follow the safety protocols.

A shopkeeper, Guljari Lal Sharma, said he would never let customers enter his shop if they do not follow safety measures and preventive protocols.