Phurpa Lhamo | Wangdue

In Gasetshowom, 61-year-old Namgay had already postponed his lochoe (annual ritual) once due to the second nationwide lockdown.

Despite the implementation of smart unlocking in Wangdue, Namgay’s annual ritual doesn’t seem doable any sooner.

The dzongkhag Covid-19 task force has decided not to allow lochoes and annual rimdros.

“In our village, except for one household, which conducted their lochoe before the lockdown, no one has conducted their lochoe,” Namgay said.

In Wangdue, the smart unlocking allows movement of people within the dzongkhag until 9pm. However, apart from vehicles carrying essential items, private vehicles aren’t allowed to move.

“Today, I am looking for another date. Hopefully, I can conduct it within February,” Namgay.

In Gasetshowom gewog, Wangdue, of the 117 households, only about five percent of them had conducted their annual ritual, according to Gewog Mangmi Pema.

The dzongkhag task force has notified that as part of smart unlocking, gewog offices, financial service providers, essential service providers such as Bhutan Telecom, BPC, T-Cell, and the municipal office would be allowed to open tomorrow.

All construction works within self-contained zones were allowed starting yesterday.

Except for entertainment centres, shops are allowed to open in the dzongkhag until 9pm.

Today, Pelela area in Wangdue and Phenteykha village in Punakha have been identified as yellow zones.

Movement through Pelela wouldn’t be allowed and only shops providing essential items are to remain open in the area.

In Phenteykha, while farming activities are permitted, movement outside the zone is restricted.

“They will need to complete the 21-day mandatory quarantine,” Punakha Dzongdag Karma Drukpa said.

Smart lockdown relaxation in Punakha was implemented yesterday. Movement would be allowed within the dzongkhag until 5pm.

Wangdue and Punakha will allow entry to people from red zones, but they have to complete the compulsory seven-day quarantine.

As part of Punakha’s smart lockdown relaxation procedure, offices providing essential services are allowed to operate.

Funerals are allowed with a maximum of 20 individuals and four vehicles. Lochoes and rimdros are restricted.

In Gasa, unlocking began yesterday. After a week, the dzongkhag will conduct random screening and the second phase of unlocking will begin accordingly. In Gasa, shops are allowed to operate until 6pm.

All restaurants in Wangdue, Punakha and Gasa are allowed to provide only take-away services and not entertain sit-ins.