Egypt sets shop opening hours as second coronavirus wave approaches

Men in protective masks wait for the train at a metro station in Cairo. (Reuters)
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Updated 23 November 2020

Egypt sets shop opening hours as second coronavirus wave approaches

  • Restaurants, cafes, and bazaars, including those in shopping malls, will open at 5:00 a.m. and close at 1:00 a.m. in summer and midnight in winter

CAIRO: In preparation for the expected second wave of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Egyptian government has announced new opening hours for shops, restaurants, cafes, and workshops and handicrafts shops.
The changes will come into effect from Dec. 1.
The government said that the new times were part of its continued efforts to achieve stability, prevent chaos, maintain the state’s infrastructure, preserve the people’s health and safety and reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Minister of Local Development General Mahmoud Shaarawy spoke of the many benefits of this ruling, which was approved by the Supreme Committee for Public Shop Licensing, including saving energy, regulating working hours, allowing local authorities to remove garbage and keep Egyptian streets clean across the country.
General Shaarawy said that shops and malls, excluding restaurants, cafes, and bazaars, will open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 11:00 p.m. daily during the summer, and at 10:00 p.m. in winter. He said that they will close at midnight in summer and 11:00 p.m. in winter on Thursdays and Fridays, as well as on official holidays.
Restaurants, cafes, and bazaars, including those in shopping malls, will open at 5:00 a.m. and close at 1:00 a.m. in summer and midnight in winter. He added that during winter times will be extended on Thursdays and Fridays, as well as on official holidays, so these establishments will close at 1:00 a.m. He said that home delivery services of cafes and restaurants will be available 24 hours all year round.
The minister said that the opening hours for workshops and handicrafts shops in populated areas will be daily from 8:00 a.m. till 7:00 p.m. in summer, and from 6:00 a.m. in winter. He underlined that these hours exclude service establishments such as gas stations, which will be covered by a regulation to be issued by the chairman of the Supreme Committee for Public Shop Licensing. The opening hours for workshops and handicrafts shops inside populated areas may be amended if needed.
Coronavirus cases have surged again in Egypt following a decline during the summer.


German defense minister rejects Turkey complaint over Libya weapons ship search

Updated 24 November 2020

German defense minister rejects Turkey complaint over Libya weapons ship search

  • Germany insists it acted correctly in boarding a Turkish ship to enforce arms embargo of Libya
  • Turkey summoned European diplomats to complain at the operation

BERLIN: Germany’s defense minister on Tuesday rejected Turkey’s complaints over the search of a Turkish freighter in the Mediterranean Sea by a German frigate participating in a European mission, insisting that German sailors acted correctly.
Sunday’s incident prompted Turkey to summon diplomats representing the European Union, Germany and Italy and assert that the Libya-bound freighter Rosaline-A was subjected to an “illegal” search by personnel from the German frigate Hamburg. The German ship is part of the European Union’s Irini naval mission, which is enforcing an arms embargo against Libya.
German officials say that the order to board the ship came from Irini’s headquarters in Rome and that Turkey protested while the team was on board. The search was then ended.
Turkey says the search was “unauthorized and conducted by force.”
German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer backed the German crew’s actions.
“It is important to me to make really clear that the Bundeswehr soldiers behaved completely correctly,” she said during an appearance in Berlin. “They did what is asked of them in the framework of the European Irini mandate.”
“That there is this debate with the Turkish side points to one of the fundamental problems of this European mission,” Kramp-Karrenbauer added, without elaborating. “But it is very important to me to say clearly here that there are no grounds for these accusations that are now being made against the soldiers.”
This was the second incident between Turkey and naval forces from a NATO ally enforcing an arms blockade against Libya.
In June, NATO launched an investigation over an incident between Turkish warships and a French naval vessel in the Mediterranean, after France said one of its frigates was “lit up” three times by Turkish naval targeting radar when it tried to approach a Turkish civilian ship suspected of involvement in arms trafficking.
Turkey supports a UN-backed government in Tripoli against rival forces based in the country’s east. It has complained that the EU naval operation focuses its efforts too much on the Tripoli administration and turns a blind eye to weapons sent to the eastern-based forces.
In Ankara, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that Irini was “flawed from the onset.”
“It is not based on firm international legal foundations,” Akar said. He renewed Turkey’s criticism of the German ship’s actions.
“The incident was against international laws and practices. It was wrong,” he said.
Kramp-Karrenbauer stressed that “Turkey is still an important partner for us in NATO.” Turkey being outside the military alliance would make the situation even more difficult, she argued, and Turkish soldiers are “absolutely reliable partners” in NATO missions.
But she conceded that Turkey poses “a big challenge” because of how its domestic politics have developed and because it has its “own agenda, which is difficult to reconcile with European questions in particular.”