Coronavirus: UAE allows all food stores, pharmacies to operate 24/7

A woman wears a protective face mask, following the outbreak of the new coronavirus, as she walks at Dragon Mart, a Chinese themed discount shopping centre, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, March 2, 2020. (Reuters)

The United Arab Emirates will allow all food retail outlets, including cooperative societies, grocery stores, supermarkets and pharmacies are permitted to remain open 24/7 while not exceeding a maximum capacity of 30 percent of their total occupancy, the Ministry of Health and the National Emergency and Crisis and Disasters Management Authority said on Tuesday.

The food stores and pharmacies should only accommodate 30 percent of their totally occupancy in order “to ensure the minimum recommended physical distance of two meters between customers as per social distancing protocols aimed at minimizing shared spaces and overcrowding in line with the precautionary measures taken to contain the spread of COVID-19,” state news agency WAM reported citing the authorities’ statement.

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“All bodies concerned have to abide by the preventive and precautionary measures taken by the State's competent bodies to ensure public safety and people's well-being.”

The announcement comes after the two authorities announced on Monday the closure of all malls, shopping centers, commercial centers, and open markets except for fish, vegetable, and meat markets for two weeks.

Restaurants will also only be limited to delivery for the two-week period.

The UAE ordered on March 16 all hotels to close their pubs, bars, and lounges. Gyms, electronic gaming centers, and spring camps will also be closed until the end of the month.

Public beaches, swimming pools, cinemas, theme parks, and tourist attractions are also closed until the end of March.

The total number of coronavirus cases in the UAE stood at 248 as of Tuesday, according to the ministry of health.

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Last Update: 21:22 KSA 00:22 - GMT 21:22
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