Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Residents were allowed to move without movement permits across zones in Samtse and Gomtu towns beginning 5am on September 9.

The first phase of easing the lockdown in Samtse will conclude today. 

However, during this phase, only walking is allowed.

Further, inter-gewog movement within the dzongkhag is not allowed except for emergencies and essential services, the dzongkhag Covid-19 Task Force announced.

Shops catering to essentials like grocery and pharmaceuticals were also allowed to open.

Meanwhile, residents from buffer zones are not allowed to move into the towns nor the town residents are allowed to go to the buffer zones. Buffer zones are villages under the gewogs that surround the towns.

Samtse dzongdag Sonam Wangyel said there are three buffer zones in Samtse.

“However, two such zones, Tamang Dara and Aleypakha, are relevant to Samtse town,” he said.

For movement, residents in the buffer zones have also been issued with movement permits. Should they get permission during the second phase, which starts tomorrow, people from the buffer zones and towns can move across zones.

“Then, people in the buffer zone can also come to gewogs,” Sonam Wangyel said, adding that there could be more relaxation after three days.

Prior to this relaxation, each family in Samtse town was issued a movement permit with only one member allowed to move.