Entry into malls and commercial complexes for those aged below 12 years and those above 60 will not be permitted in the initial stages of the four-phase lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, a senior official of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) has said.
Such places will also continue to remain closed on Fridays and Saturdays in order to achieve the goals of the first stages of lifting restrictions, he stressed, as reported by the official Qatar News Agency (QNA).
Addressing a press conference organised by the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management on Monday, Saleh Majid al-Khulaifi, Assistant Undersecretary for Commerce Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), explained the process of reopening malls and commercial complexes in the country.
As announced, Phase 1 of the four-phase lifting of restrictions will see the partial opening of shops in malls.
Stores with a minimum area of 300sq m will open, while the number of shoppers inside will be restricted to 30% of the capacity.
The restrictions will be further eased in the following phases. The first phase begins on June 15, followed by the second on July 1, the third on August 1 and the fourth and final phase on September 1.
Shedding light on the obligations of the complexes, stores and individuals in the first phase, al-Khulaifi said: "With the process of gradually lifting the restrictions, we have contacted the owners of the commercial complexes to discuss the best ways to strike a balance between community health, shoppers' health and the return of the economic cycle to these complexes.
“An area of 300sqm has been set as the minimum size for stores that will be allowed to open their doors to ensure that they are large, usually multidisciplinary and serving a large segment of consumers.”
He added that at the same time, the number of shoppers at a complex has been fixed at 30% of its capacity. This is in addition to determining the number of shoppers in each store so that there is no crowding inside and social distancing is maintained.
Al-Khulaifi said the opening of places that see big crowds, such as food courts, games arenas and cinemas, has been avoided in the initial stages. He added that the commercial complexes will also remain closed on Fridays and Saturdays in order to achieve the goals of the first stages of lifting restrictions, which are providing the basic needs of the consumer and the market without causing any congestion, QNA reported.
He said with the opening of the commercial complexes, sterilisation methods will be provided with the requirement to wear masks and measure body temperature, which should be less than 37.8C, whether for shoppers or workers in the commercial complexes. Also, entry for those under 12 years of age and those above 60 will not be permitted, explaining that the purpose of these conditions is to have a shared responsibility among all parties.
He warned that the MoCI would not tolerate any violation of these procedures at any complex, even if it is committed by just one store, stressing the need for understanding by commercial store owners that health is the first priority while also considering the importance of resuming economic activities , QNA added.
Al-Khulaifi praised the efforts of the private sector, especially retail stores, regarding the services they provided in the recent period while drawing on technological advancements. He hoped that these services would continue even after the opening of markets and removal of restrictions completely.
The exemption from paying electricity and water charges will be extended to the middle of September for the beneficiaries, Saleh Majid al-Khulaifi, Assistant Undersecretary for Commerce Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), has said.
Speaking on the impact of the plan to lift restrictions on exemptions and facilities offered by the State, such as the national security programme, al-Khulaifi on Monday said most economic sectors in the country were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, QNA reported.
So, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani announced a QR75bn package to support the advancement of the private sector, he said. The main package of support for the private sector began in March, wherein most of the facilities were for about six months, extending beyond the period of gradual lifting of restrictions with the fourth and final phase beginning in September, according to QNA.
In this regard, he said the “exemption from paying electricity and water charges will extend to the middle of September, and that the national guarantee programme will extend for the next year, while the exemption from fees for industrial and logistical areas will extend beyond the period of gradual lifting (of restrictions)”.
He said the main goal of the State is to ensure the strength, solidity and durability of the private sector, which is assessed on a monthly basis to ascertain its needs.
He added that the MoCI is communicating with the private sector and its representatives, Qatar Chamber and the Qatari Businessmen Association to identify any problems faced due to this pandemic, stressing that the State's directions were clear by facilitating and providing all means to support the private sector.
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