RIYADH: Some offices in the Saudi capital have partly returned to work on a rotation basis after the relaxation of curfew hours during Ramadan.
The curfew across Saudi Arabia was partially lifted early on April 26, with the exception of Makkah and adjacent neighborhoods previously isolated after a coronavirus outbreak.
The Ministry of the Interior had announced a relaxation of the ban on movement within the city limits from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., from April 26 to May 13.
However, the ban on movement between the country’s different regions remains in effect even outside the curfew hours.
As part-time return to work begins, roads that were deserted in Riyadh due to the lockdown now have cars on them and people can be seen moving around.
Nasser Al-Shalhoub, a financial analyst at a private company in Riyadh, told Arab News: “Since last week some of the departments have resumed work from our offices, and we have been working every other day.”
Asked what arrangements the company had made to follow the health guidelines such as social distancing and health precautions, Al-Shalhoub said: “Fifty percent of employees should be working in the office. Every morning before entering the office employees have to take a temperature test and be checked by a medical specialist.”
The company provided masks and gloves to employees while sanitizing the offices and entire building regularly, he said.
“I don’t think it was necessary to work from the office, we could work virtually like previous weeks because they have already provided us with access and technology devices but the problem is that some of the employees lack the knowledge to use technology, therefore we had to go back to work from the office.”
While movement restrictions might have eased, many companies have their employees working in rotations to minimize the potential spread of the disease and to maintain a social distance of six feet.
Zakir Azmi, an accountant with Mawarid Holding company in Riyadh, told Arab News: “Our management had decided to work from the office after a partial lifting of the lockdown, however the legal and other departments were of a view to continue working from home. As the pandemic is still spreading with cases being reported daily, finally it was decided to attend the office only on a need-to basis.”
As some offices are looking into partially allowing their employees to return to work, precautionary measures must be adhered to at all times, such as practicing healthy hygiene habits, intensified cleaning, disinfection, ventilation, social distancing and restricted use of any shared items or spaces.