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Dubai: Qatar’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry announced details of the second phase of the gradual lifting of restrictions imposed on malls, shopping centers, street markets, and restaurants, which goes into effect on Wednesday July 1, 2020, Qatar News Agency reported on Tuesday.

The Ministry affirmed that this step is in line with the previous decisions and measures adopted by Qatar to preserve the health and safety of citizens and residents, and to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The Ministry said that starting from July 1, all commercial activities will be allowed to resume in malls and commercial centers, while gaming centers, amusement parks, skateboard arenas, prayer rooms and cinemas will remain closed.

Restaurants operating inside malls and commercial centers are allowed to deliver to home addresses, or hand over orders at the restaurant only. This decision also prohibits any artistic, cultural or recreational activities at malls and commercial centers.

The decision allows all commercial outlets to resume their operations in the following street markets: The Gold Souq, Souq Al Ali, Al Gharafa Market, Thursday & Friday Market, Souq Waqif (Doha), Souq Al Wakrah, Al Sailiya Central Market.

Preventive measures outlined

The Ministry affirmed that malls, commercial centers and street markets must adhere to the precautionary and preventive measures outlined by the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs.

These measures include allowing shoppers onto the premises only after checking the colour code identifying the individual’s health condition in the Ehteraz app, as only green code holders are allowed in, prohibiting people not wearing a medical mask, and compelling visitors to wear one throughout their time inside the mall, and checking and measuring the body temperature of workers and visitors upon arrival at the mall, and not allowing individuals with a temperature higher than 38 degrees Celsius to enter the premises.

These premises also must provide hand sanitizers, remind visitors to maintain a safe distance of no less than two meters from other individuals at all times, not to receive more than 50 per cent of the mall’s regular capacity, and reduce the number of parking spaces available to visitors by 50 per cent.

The measures also include barring smoking at mall entrances and removing all containers designated for cigarette waste, and preventing the gathering of visitors and limousine or taxi drivers at the entrance to malls.

Ministry of Commerce and Industry is making stores and outlets operating inside complexes, commercial centers and popular markets constantly check and measure the temperature of employees and isolate those who exhibit symptoms, and inform concerned authorities to take the necessary precautions and health measures in this regard.

Furthermore, stores must follow the decision regarding remote work for employees over the age of 60, pregnant women or individuals who have chronic diseases, in addition to putting safe distance stickers on the floors of commercial stores, receiving customers according to the store’s capacity, with no less than 9 square meters per person, encouraging customers to pay by bank cards, and sterilizing all the facilities of the commercial store including administrative offices, warehouses, employee housing and transportation.

Entertainment

With regard to restaurants, the Ministry announced that restaurants will be allowed to resume operations starting tomorrow in the following tourist areas: Souq Waqif, Al-Wakra Old Souq, the Pearl, Katara Cultural Village, restaurants and kiosks in sports clubs and tourist area, Qatar museums, Al-Hazim and Msheireb Downtown Doha. It emphasized the importance of adhering to the precautionary and preventive measures set by the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Administrative Development, labour and Social Affairs.

The Ministry alerted restaurants of the importance of requiring clients to pre-book before coming to the restaurant, allowing diners into the restaurant only after checking the colour code identifying the individual’s health condition in the Ehteraz app, ensuring diners are wearing masks, measuring their body temperature at the entrance, and barring any customer whose temperature is above 38 degrees Celsius. Additionally, open buffet service and serving shisha are prohibited.

The Ministry also made it a requirement for these restaurants to provide hand sanitizers across restaurant facilities, place safe distance stickers on restaurant floors, redistribute the furniture, leaving no less than two meters between each table, allow a maximum of five people to sit at each table (excluding members of single family), reduce the restaurant’s capacity to 50 per cent of the maximum number of diners, and encourage customers to pay using credit cards rather than cash.

The Ministry clarified that this decision is subject to amendment according to developments and any violation will result in legal procedures and accountability. The Ministry stressed that the success of each stage of the comprehensive plan for the gradual lifting of the restrictions depends on the commitment of all individuals to implement all preventive and precautionary measures.