Lebanon eases COVID-19 restrictions, allows supermarkets and banks to reopen

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Lebanon is implementing a four-step plan to gradually ease closing restrictions introduced in the current lockdown, caretaker Minister of Interior Mohammad Fehmi said in a press conference on Friday.

From 8 to 22 February the first phase will see supermarkets reopen, while banks will operate at 20 percent capacity. Industries related to agriculture, poultry, livestock, and milk production can run, according to the interior ministry. During the first phase public transportation through buses only will be resumed at a limited occupancy rate.


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The public sector, non-governmental organizations, and UN agencies will run with an occupancy rate of 20 percent.

The second stage involves the reopening of car rental agencies, auto repair garages, laundries, construction sites and licensed factories, the ministry said, adding that taxis will return to the roads.

Schools, nurseries, and other educational institutes are not allowed to open, the interior ministry added. The Ministry of Education will coordinate with the Ministry of Health at a later time to study facts to set up a mechanism for opening this sector, according to the interior ministry.

In the third stage, banks can increase their capacity to 50 percent, along with the commercial sector, and factories.

The last stage allows tourist and historic sites, swimming pools, beaches, streets, gyms and gaming centers to open, the ministry said.

Until further notice, bars, nightclubs, ski centers, convention, and meeting centers will remain closed, the interior ministry added.

Lebanon’s surge in coronavirus cases and deaths started after a holiday season during which tens of thousands of visitors flew to the country to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s.

Lebanon also reported 76 new coronavirus deaths on Sunday, bringing the number of total coronavirus deaths in the small Mediterranean country to nearly 3,562, with more than 317,836 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.

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