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Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Egypt to lift nationwide curfew on 27 June as part of phased reopening plan, retail hours permanently shortened

Curfew to be lifted on Saturday as part of phased reopening plan, retail hours permanently shortened: The nighttime curfew will be lifted on Saturday as the government moves to gradually end the lockdown, according to a cabinet statement. The nationwide nighttime curfew is currently in force between 8pm and 4am. Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly also announced at a press conference yesterday a package of policies that will regulate the reopening of the country.

The order imposes new, permanent and shorter opening hours for shops, malls, eateries and cafes. Even after corona, shops and malls will have to close at 9pm and restaurants and coffeeshops will have to lock up by 10pm, according to Cabinet Spokesman Nader Saad. Shops had been required under the covid measures to close for the day at 6pm, but had previously been largely free to set their own opening hours. Saad left some wiggle room, saying opening hours could be adjusted in the future, perhaps moving with the season.

From Saturday, cafes and restaurants around the country will be allowed to operate until 10pm and sports clubs, cinemas, and theaters will reopen their doors. All sites will only be permitted to operate at a maximum 25% capacity. Sports clubs will only be required to implement the capacity limit at on-site facilities, including gyms and restaurants, but will not be required to limit the number of people entering the club at any given time.

Say bye-bye to late-night eating. Want to dash out for coffee with friends at midnight? Business meeting at a restaurant at 10pm? Fuggedaboudit. Cabinet says restaurants and cafes are closing at 10pm forevermore. Don’t worry: Delivery service and takeaway will still be allowed around the clock for those nights when a big vat of greasy, crispy chicken is the only thing that will see your through.

Also: And don’t be surprised if there’s soon an exception to the early closing hour for restaurants at hotels, at a minimum.

Malls and retail shops will need to close up by 9pm under the order.

Public parks and beaches will remain closed until further notice. This does not apply to resorts and private compounds, which will be allowed to reopen their beaches, Cabinet spokesman Nader Saad said yesterday (watch, runtime: 1:31).

Places of worship will be allowed to partially reopen to the public as of Saturday — but Friday prayers and weekly mass remain suspended until further notice. The Awqaf Ministry will allow select mosques to hold the five daily Muslim prayers throughout the week for men only (women’s prayer areas will remain closed). Mosques will need to keep washrooms and ablution facilities closed to the public and open their doors no more than 10 minutes before the call to prayer. The Coptic Church said it will decide on Saturday how to proceed with masses on other days of the week, while the Catholic Church has said it will resume prayers this Saturday and cap attendance at 25% of any church’s capacity. Representatives from the Evangelical Church will hold a virtual meeting today to coordinate the reopening of churches, according to Akhbar El Yom.

Hotels will see their maximum occupancy rate raised to 50% from a current 25%. This cap will last until October when it will likely increase to 75%, the cabinet said last week.

Public transportation will be available from 4am until midnight.

The decisions earned digital ink on Reuters, Bloomberg, and the National.

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