Bahrain to close non-essential businesses in coronavirus clampdown

All non-essential business will close on Thursday afternoon. (File/Shutterstock)
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Updated 25 March 2020

Bahrain to close non-essential businesses in coronavirus clampdown

  • The closure of non-essential businesses will take effect on Thursday evening
  • Businesses can still continue operating via online platforms, deliveries and takeaways

DUBAI: Bahrain has ordered all non-essential businesses to close from Thursday, March 26, as the COVID-19 crisis continues, adding that only hypermarkets, supermarkets, cold stores, bakeries, pharmacies, and banks can remain open.

The directive, issued by the government’s executive committee added that restaurants can continue to operate, but on a takeaway and delivery basis only.

Bahrain’s Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism issued a notice clarifying what is deemed non-essential.

The order requires all non-essential retail and industrial enterprises to close temporarily,  from 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 26, 2020 until 1900 on Thursday, April 9, 2020.

The order added that all retail and industrial enterprises would reopen open from April 9 to April 23.

But retail and industrial organizations will be allowed to continue business via online platforms and social media

The following types of business are excluded from these measures, and will be allowed to continue to operate as usual:

  • Hypermarkets, supermarkets, cold stores, grocery stores, butcher and fish shops, and bakeries
  • Natural gas and liquid fueling stations
  • Hospitals, medical centers, pharmacies and opticians
  • Banks and currency exchange bureaus
  • Corporate administration offices of companies and organizations that conduct activities without direct engagement with customers
  • Businesses that import, export and distribute goods
  • Garages and repair shops
  • Businesses operating in the construction and maintenance industry
  • Manufacturers


Coronavirus crisis in Egypt has benefits

A man travels on a scooter past the closed El-Sayeda Zainab Mosque in Cairo. (Reuters)
Updated 31 March 2020

Coronavirus crisis in Egypt has benefits

  • The Central Bank of Egypt has directed all local banks to delay the collection of credit liabilities for six months without any rates or fines

CAIRO: People around the world are living in uncertain times as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to spread. Fatalities and infections are rising as cities and countries go into lockdown.
Egypt is under a partial lockdown, forcing people to stay, work and learn at home. Yet behind this massive change and a fear of the unknown, COVID-19 has brought advantages.
Ever since Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi decided to close schools and universities for two weeks, starting on March 15, respect for the government has increased, especially on social media.
“Suddenly the government is laying down a series of preemptive actions to slow down the spread of the virus,” Mohamed Badr, 32, a Cairo resident, said. “They disregarded the economic impact and focused on the safety of the people which made us all proud.”
There have been diplomatic gains. China’s Ambassador to Cairo Liao Liqiang said that China and Egypt are partners and true friends, lauding Egypt’s support to Chinese efforts to combat the virus.
The Central Bank of Egypt has directed all local banks to delay the collection of credit liabilities for six months without any rates or fines.
The government’s order to shut down cafes and malls during curfew hours has led to a ban on the smoking of hookahs.
With fears over infections and with a dusk-to-dawn curfew in place, there is less consumption of unhealthy food.
There are fewer road accidents too. In 2018, there were 8,480 road accidents, according to the Bureau of Statistics. The number is expected to plunge this year due to the drop in vehicles on the road.

FASTFACT

Ever since Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi decided to close schools and universities for two weeks, respect for the government has increased.

Working from home is the new normal. The culture of work from home is forcing its way in society as many learning technologies and cloud solutions are connecting homes and workplaces.
“When I used to invite people for a Zoom meeting they were surprised. Today, it’s a normal practice and many clients actually prefer this option,” a sales representative in Cairo said.
And with school and college students stuck at home, educational institutions have quickly taken up distance learning.
With millions of people now stuck in isolation, many are using the opportunity to get creative. Videos on social media show people developing hobbies, tricks, cooking skills and paintings.
Corporations are accelerating digital transformation. Several companies are racing to implement digital and cloud technologies to manage their businesses remotely. Several telco and financial institutions pushed their services online and through contact centers rather than branch visits.
Doctors are finally getting some credit. They have long called for better salaries and benefits but their requests have fallen on deaf ears. The virus has now brought some hope for a better package in the near future.
The environment is cleaner and less polluted. And now, everyone has more time to reflect.