|21 May, 2020

Businesses in Bahrain to stay open during Eid

Eid Al Fitr will fall on Saturday or Sunday, depending on the lunar calendar

There will not be an Eid lockdown as businesses in Bahrain will continue to operate next week, it was revealed.

Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Zayed Alzayani said yesterday that businesses that resumed operations earlier this month will continue running during next week’s extended Eid Al Fitr holiday under strict protocols to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Mr Alzayani said the high level of awareness among the community and the response from society have kept the country from resorting to a full lockdown like in other nations.

Eid Al Fitr will fall on Saturday or Sunday, depending on the lunar calendar, with the extended holiday ending on Tuesday.

The minister was speaking during a webinar yesterday when Bahrain registered 356 new cases of the coronavirus, taking the total active cases to 4,308.

“We are not worried about Eid, as some people will go visit their relatives and we cannot stop them,” said Mr Alzayani.

“We are betting on the awareness of the society to be more responsible during this period.

“We did not resort to extreme measures in the past few months, but sacrificed some daily practices and routines, so we don’t have to be in a lockdown situation.”

The minister was speaking at a webinar organised by StartUp Bahrain during which he discussed a wide range of issues.

The issue of a potential Eid lockdown was raised by leading Bahraini businessman Farooq Almoayyed, who said such a move was vital amid an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases.

“A decision on partial or full lockdown is taken based on medical data,” responded the minister during the webinar.

“At the current stage the health analysis shows we are at a situation where we can afford to take the decision (of not imposing a lockdown), a decision that was taken (on Tuesday night).”

He was referring to the government’s executive committee meeting which was chaired by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier.

“We are very confident the society will not abuse (this decision) because their health is at stake, and we have seen excellent response from the society in terms of discipline and adherence,” added Mr Alzayani.

“We balanced the partial lockdown with the regulated reopening of businesses in terms of distancing and generally speaking we monitor traffic movement, and even with the openness people are staying at home.”

Since March 18, all non-essential businesses have been closing and reopening for two-week periods at a time.

When businesses were reopened on May 7, stores were allowed to continue operations with restrictions such as social distancing, wearing face masks and disinfecting facilities.

However, cinemas, salons, gyms, sports centres and entertainment outlets have remained closed, while sheesha cafes and restaurants have been limited to take-out and delivery services.

During yesterday’s webinar the minister also discussed measures taken to ensure the market has sufficient food supplies during the pandemic.

He said steps have been taken to ensure the availability of more than six months’ worth of supply of 14 essential items.

sandy@gdn.com.bh

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