Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

As Phuentsholing entered the second phase of lockdown relaxation yesterday, more residents were on the streets.

Many had come out to buy essentials, while some came out to jog, and others to take a look around town.

As per the Southern Covid-19 Task Force, families were allowed to move, without movement permits, across the zones, starting yesterday.

Residents can move until 7pm.

Designated shops and restaurants (for takeaways only) were also allowed to open. In addition to earlier identified essential shops to cater to the people during the lockdown, hardware shops and automobile workshops were also allowed to open.

Meanwhile, there are mixed feelings among the residents in the bordering town.

A restaurant owner, Joshua Baraily, who didn’t open his shop yesterday said the feeling of coming out and seeing people in the town was amazing.

“I felt like I was out of a cage,” he said.

He said that people were following the Covid-19 safety protocol.

“I am a bit scared but if we strictly follow the dos and don’ts, I think we will be safe,” he said.

Vipul Tiwari of Suresh Hardware said a few people had visited his shop yesterday.

“They have come to buy small items, especially bulbs,” he said. “It’s good to see people around.”

The first relaxation phase in Phuentsholing started between September 8 and September 10. Only one member from a family was allowed to move with a movement permit within the zone for a specified time.

“Most people are coming to buy essentials,” a resident said.

“It’s good to see that everyone came out wearing a mask. Police and De-Suups were everywhere in the town to monitor and remind them of the safety measures.”

Another resident said although people had their masks on, physical distancing could be a problem.

“Despite many maintaining the distance, there were few who didn’t,” he said.

Meanwhile, with four positive cases reported on the night of September 10, there are also residents who are not yet ready to come out.

A resident, Sonam Tshewang said that the lockdown should continue for another week and the card system should continue.

“We are still in the red zone and there are active positive cases,” he said.

Sonam Tshewang said that people don’t realise that lockdown would return if there is no change in behaviour.

“Many say coronavirus is just like a cough but we must not take it lightly. We must remember that last year we lost six people to dengue. Covid-19 is far more dangerous and can spread very fast,” he said.