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The Bhutan government on Sunday announced reopening of entertainment centres with immediate effect.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in a press statement on Sunday said: “With His Majesty at the frontline and aided by the prayers of the religious bodies and support of every Bhutanese in the country and beyond, we have succeeded in keeping our communities dear of COVID-19 for almost two months now.”

This is despite the fact that many nations are today recording the highest number of cases since the start of the pandemic.

However, in consonance with the heightened surveillance in the communities and keeping with the epidemiological status of COVID-19 in the country, the government is ensuring cautious reopening of the activities.

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“This time around, we are pleased to announce the reopening of the entertainment centres in the low-risk areas,” the PMO stated.

The entertainment groups comprise cinema halls, karaoke, discotheques, pubs, snookers, live music and night dubs.

Sharing the details, the PMO said: “The cinema halls are allowed to operate with 50 per cent capacity, ensuring seating arrangements that match the COVID-19 protocols.”

All other entertainment centres must not accommodate more than 50 heads at a given time.

The owners and organisms must ensure that every individual entering the facility use Druk Trace app that will validate the attendance limit while monitoring.

Entities that seek to accommodate more than 50 heads must seek antigen test result with validity of one week from every individual, the PMO stated.

All entertainment centres are allowed to operate until 10 pm.

Drayangs will not be allowed to operate for now and a separate notification will be issued on this.

“Hereafter, a maximum attendance of 50 heads will be permitted at a time for events and gatherings in low-risk areas. The ceiling of 25 individuals will prevail in the high-risk areas and any count beyond shall be subjected to the approval of the local task force,” the order said.

Enhanced surveillance and monitoring will be carried out by the RBP, entertainment committee and other relevant agencies. Non-adherence to the notification will result in severe penalties, including cancellation of business licenses.

“The notification will come into immediate effect,” it said.

“We understand the hardship the entertainment centres have endured over the months as the disease containment measures forced them dosed. These sacrifices have made a huge difference in combating the pandemic and in bringing us to where we are today,” the PMO stated.

“Unfortunately, these relaxations cannot be considered for the high-risk areas given the threat that prevails round the dock, but we are hopeful that this will all come to an end soon.”

“Here, we also acknowledge the inconvenience the seven-day quarantine requirement has posed to our people,” it said.

“It is with these measures that we are able to relax restrictions for rest of the country and we remain grateful for your cooperation until now. We have come a long way. Let us continue with the same spirit and solidarity to put the pandemic behind us, once and for all,” the PMO further said.


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