Meghalaya mandates ‘periodical testing’ for unvaccinated shopkeepers

Shopkeepers, vendors and passenger vehicle operators in Meghalaya can opt out of getting vaccinated for COVID-19 to resume business, but they will need to undergo tests every 10 days for the safety of others.

The East Khasi Hills district administration issued an order on June 24 directing the staff of shops, business establishments and drivers, conductors and helpers of local taxis, auto-rickshaws, maxi cabs and buses to get themselves tested periodically if they choose not to get vaccinated.

This, the order issued by Deputy Commissioner Isawanda Laloo said, was for exercising social responsibility and contributing to the safety of society.

The order came a day after the High Court of Meghalaya asked shop and commercial vehicle operators to display prominently the status of their staff as “vaccinated” or “not vaccinated” for their customers and passengers.

Hearing a petition challenging an earlier order of the district administration allowing shops and commercial vehicles to operate only if they get vaccinated, the court also observed that forcing anyone to get the jab would be violating a person’s fundamental rights.

The case pertains to Ms. Laloo’s order allowing Iewduh, Meghalaya’s largest traditional market in the State capital Shillong, to reopen partially from June 18, provided the traders and vendors are vaccinated.

In her June 24 order, the Deputy Commissioner cited the High Court directive to ask all shops, business establishments and operators of commercial vehicles to put up a sign at a “conspicuous place” indicating whether their staff are “vaccinated” or “not vaccinated”.

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