Saudi stores, shopping malls reopen with strict restrictions over COVID-19

Saudi stores, shopping malls reopen with strict restrictions over COVID-19
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Shoppers will have to undergo temperature checks at the entrance to stores and shopping malls including Al-Yasmin Mall in Jeddah. (SPA)
Saudi stores, shopping malls reopen with strict restrictions over COVID-19
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A woman shops at a cosmetics store at one of Riyadh's malls after the Saudi government eased a curfew and allowed stores to open, following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia April 29, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 30 April 2020

Saudi stores, shopping malls reopen with strict restrictions over COVID-19

Saudi stores, shopping malls reopen with strict restrictions over COVID-19
  • Shoppers will have to undergo temperature checks at the entrance to stores
  • They will also be required to keep two meters away from each other, wear face masks and gloves

JEDDAH: Saudi retail stores and shopping malls on Wednesday reopened their doors to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a strict set of rules in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

Shoppers will have to undergo temperature checks at the entrance to stores with those showing readings of higher than 38 degrees Celsius being transferred to the nearest medical center.

“Commercial firms are required to carry out temperature checks for their customers and workers before their shifts, prohibit tests for cosmetic products and perfumes, close elevators and apply floor markings to outline social distancing measures,” said Ministry of Commerce and Investment spokesperson, Abdulrahman Al-Hussein.

 

Shoppers will also be required to keep two meters away from each other, wear face masks and gloves when using carriers, avoid testing products, and have no more than one accompanying person.

Children under the age of 15 will not be allowed entry, while the elderly and people with chronic illnesses such as heart, lung and kidney diseases, and immunity-related conditions are being advised to stay at home.

Entertainment venues along with cafes and restaurants in shopping centers will remain closed along with fitting and prayer rooms.

With many people choosing to shop online, the ministry revealed it had received more than 12,000 reports of shipping delays since the beginning of Ramadan.

“We are currently working with the related authorities and parties to offer a quick, effective solution very soon,” Al-Hussein said. 

He also highlighted an April rise of 300 percent on March in complaints and reports by customers of violations, via the 1900 phone number or the Balagh app.

FASTFACTS

  • 21,402 is the total number of coronavirus cases.
  • 2,953 is the total number of recoveries in Saudi Arabia.
  • 157 is the total number deaths.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, contracting companies and factories also resumed activities without restrictions on time. The Kingdom has a total of 9,000 factories, around 3,000 of which have been working at full production capacity to provide food and pharmaceutical products.

Mazen Al-Hammad, Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources spokesperson, said: “There are 50 medical factories in the Kingdom, along with seven factories working on the manufacture of respiratory devices. We currently have a locally manufactured device which has been put on trial in a hospital.”

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has recorded 1,325 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number to 21,402, of which 18,292 are active cases. The Ministry of Health announced 169 newly recovered patients, making 2,953 in all. Five new deaths were reported, raising the toll to 157.

The latest fatalities involved expats in Makkah and the Eastern Province aged between 25 and 52.

Health ministry spokesman, Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly, stressed that the crisis was not over and urged people to abide by preventive measures and avoid any potential crowding.


Flagship Huawei store in Saudi Arabia will be its biggest outside China

Flagship Huawei store in Saudi Arabia will be its biggest outside China
Terry He, the CEO of Huawei Tech Investment in Saudi Arabia, said the Kingdom is a very important market for the company. (AFP)
Updated 6 min 40 sec ago

Flagship Huawei store in Saudi Arabia will be its biggest outside China

Flagship Huawei store in Saudi Arabia will be its biggest outside China

RIYADH/JEDDAH: Chinese tech firm Huawei has signed an agreement with Kaden Investment for the launch in Saudi Arabia of its largest store outside China.
During the signing ceremony, at the Ministry of Investment headquarters in Riyadh, Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih highlighted the importance of investment in information and communications technology, along with energy and entertainment, which are important pillars of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 development plan.
He said that the agreement with Huawei is a symbol of the prosperity that comes from long-term partnerships, in this case a 20-year relationship with the Chinese business. It is a “long-standing digital partner and ahead of the curve” in spotting the potential offered by the Kingdom, he added.
“Huawei has played an instrumental role in Saudi Arabia’s development, collaborating with government and private enterprises to enhance our nation’s technological infrastructure,” said Al-Falih. “It continues to share our commitment to talent development, innovation and ambition, the values which underpin Vision 2030.”
Terry He, the CEO of Huawei Tech Investment in Saudi Arabia, said the Kingdom is a very important market for the company.
“It gives me great pleasure to announce the next step in Huawei’s commitment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to open the largest Huawei flagship store in the overseas market,” he added. “This will provide customers with an unprecedented, immersive full-scenario experience.”
Fahad Alarjani, a member of the Saudi Chinese Business Council, welcomed the agreement as a “huge success” for the Ministry of Investment, in collaboration with other Saudi ministries, in attracting high-tech investments to Saudi Arabia, “especially given that Huawei is considered a technology giant in China and the world.”
Alarjani, a doctorate-level scholar in sustainable entrepreneurship, SMEs development, and marketing strategies, said it is important that agencies in the Kingdom work together to create a fertile, world-leading environment for investors so that they can attract the latest, and sustainable, technological innovations.
“This will help to open new markets and speed up entrepreneurial development,” he added. “It is important to be aware of the fact that Chinese companies are working hard on being pioneers of 5G.”

The agreement with Huawei is a symbol of the prosperity that comes from long-term partnerships, in this case a 20-year relationship with the Chinese business.

Khalid Al-Falih, Investment minister

Saleh M. Al-Saleem, a professor of computer and information sciences at King Saud University, said: “The agreement will definitely entail training programs to transfer technology, and an investment by a company of this size in the Saudi market is an acknowledgment on its part of the huge size of the technological sector in the Kingdom.”


He added that the agreement opens the door for increased competition between the biggest international companies in the sector, and will contribute to lower costs and enhanced services in the Kingdom.
Saudi consumers also expressed excitement about the news. Pharmaceutical science graduate Ruwaid Mahalawi, 29, who lives in Jeddah and describes himself as a Huawei fan, said: “It’s nice to see big names coming into Saudi Arabia and this is only the start — it will inspire more companies to invest in the Kingdom and recognize the market is extremely welcoming.”
Saudis are a very tech savvy society, he said. “Children and adults alike use electronic devices — especially now, with the pandemic — whether it’s for work or schooling. I think it’s shedding light on how big the market is here.”
Mahalawi’s wife, 26-year-old Wajd Abdullah, is also a fan of the Chinese firm and said she ditched her iPhone for a Huawei Mate. She appreciates the added level of service that is provided when a tech brand sells its products through its own stores, rather than through third-party retailers.
“It’s always best when a brand’s own store opens,” she said. “You don’t have to worry about insurance for the gadgets or quality. The store staff will be more knowledgeable and helpful, too, and that helps to ensure customers will return.”
An opening date for the new store, which will be in Riyadh, has yet to be announced.