Shoppers at the Deira City Centre in Dubai on Friday. Image Credit: Antonin Kelian Kallouche/Gulf News

Malls in the UAE are opening gradually to help people shop for Ramadan and the upcoming holidays. The reopening of the shopping outlets is in line with the gradual opening up of businesses around the world. It is important that such vital outlets are open albeit for limited time every day.

The shopping centres will of course have to follow strict hygiene measures to ensure the safety of the shoppers as well as their staff. However, it is the responsibility of people to watch out for their safety.

The world continues to lose thousands of lives every day to the coronavirus pandemic. The danger is still at its peak, and there is no cure yet; make no mistake. Best estimates say that a vaccine could be developed by the fall, months away. But life will have to go on. Therefore, there will be decisions in the next couple of weeks to reopen certain sectors that are vital for the social and economic well-being of the country, such as malls and flights among others.

These guidelines are put in place to ensure the safety of the public. But it is up to the public to make that work.

- Gulf News

The malls, some of which have already opened their doors on the weekend, must follow the strict guidelines set out by the authorities such as the 24-hour sansitisation, health checks at the entrance by thermal scanners, providing dedicated isolation areas and the necessary training to staff to be able to deal with potential cases. In addition, people over the age of 60 and children under 12 will not be allowed in the malls.

These guidelines are put in place to ensure the safety of the public. But it is up to the public to make that work. You don’t have to stay there long. Three hours is a long time to shop in a mall under the current extraordinary circumstances. Try to make it short for your own safety and the safety of your family and others. Shoppers will be required to wear masks at all times and encouraged to wear gloves. They are also advised to pay by cards or e-payment apps to minimise the risk of virus transmission through cash.

These rules are there to keep you safe. To keep the nation safe. Therefore, we all must exercise our best judgement to mitigate the risks. The malls will not permit more than 30 per cent of its capacity, according to the rules. But it is the public’s responsibility not to crowd the mall. Let us avoid unnecessary shopping. But if we have to shop, let us exercise social distancing.