Egypt to reopen cafes, places of worship, shisha ban stays

Egypt to reopen cafes, places of worship, shisha ban stays
A man wearing a protective face mask, amid concerns over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), sits before iftar, or breaking fast, during the holy month of Ramadan in front of closed mosques and Islamic schools at El Moez Street in old Islamic Cairo, Egypt April 30, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 23 June 2020

Egypt to reopen cafes, places of worship, shisha ban stays

Egypt to reopen cafes, places of worship, shisha ban stays
  • The prime minister said cafes and restaurants will restart operations at a reduced capacity of 25 percent
  • Madbouli warned that shisha (water-pipe) smoking is still banned

CAIRO: Egypt will partially reopen cafes, restaurants, places of worship, cinemas and sporting clubs on Saturday, relaxing a lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli announced.
A night-time curfew was imposed in late March restricting movement from 8 p.m. to 6 am, but it has been eased in recent weeks.
The curfew will run from midnight to 4am, Madbouli said in a televised address Tuesday, announcing a slew of decisions taking effect on 27 June.
“We have the ability to move past this pandemic with the best results at hand and the minimum number of losses,” he said.
The prime minister said cafes and restaurants will restart operations at a reduced capacity of 25 percent in the first phase of relaxing the lockdown.
They will be allowed to remain open to customers until 10 pm, while shops can operate until 9 at night.
Madbouli warned that shisha (water-pipe) smoking, a popular social activity among Egyptians, is still banned to prevent the spread of the disease.
He also said daily services in mosques and churches in the deeply religious country will resume, but weekend services, which attract large congregations, remain suspended.
Cinemas, cultural centers and sports clubs will reopen at 25-percent capacity to ensure social distancing, while public transport running times are to be extended.
Beaches and public parks remain out of bounds.
“We all have to live with the pandemic... We have been trying to balance between opening up the country and maintaining the necessary health measures,” Madbouli said.