PESHAWAR: The wearing of facemask has been declared mandatory for bride and groom as well as the guests as wedding halls are set to reopen in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from September 15.

According to sources, the KP government has introduced standard operating procedures (SOPs) for reopening the wedding halls in order to ensure social distancing to avoid the spread of coronavirus, which although has reduced in Pakistan, but has not been defeated completely.

The sources said the wedding halls and marquees would be allowed to accommodate guests only half of the total capacity. A hall having space of 200 people could only accommodate 100 guests, and so on, to ensure seating arrangement with necessary space. The waiters and other staffers will also be required to wear facemasks. The wedding halls will make sure that sanitizers and soaps are available in washrooms. The wedding hall employees will also have to undergo medical tests.

Action will be taken against wedding halls not following the SOPs.

The reopening of wedding halls is welcomed by businessmen as tens of thousands of people were rendered jobless after closure of these halls due to coronavirus outbreak. Dozens of other associated businesses like food supply etc. are also expected to get boost with the reopening of wedding halls.

The reopening of wedding halls along with schools will mean resumption of jobs of a large number of people associated with these professions. It will restore their source of income and in larger scenario the economy of the country will get some support.

However, maintaining six feet distance in wedding halls and schools will be a challenge for the respective administrations. In wedding, people usually gather for different functions, particularly for food and group photos. Violation of SOPs is common in other sectors in Pakistan, which have already been reopened, and it is feared that the coronavirus has the potential of striking back if social distancing rules were not followed, particularly in wedding halls and schools.

Health experts warn that although coronavirus in Pakistan is on its way out, but still the threat of its striking back persists, therefore, the citizens must continue to observe precautionary measures.