The UAE government has announced that grocery stores, cooperative societies, supermarkets, and pharmacies are allowed to remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Meanwhile, although restaurants cannot receive customers, they can still accept “home deliveries.”
The announcement was made on Tuesday, 24th March 2020, by the Ministry of Health and Prevention, in coordination with the National Emergency and Crisis and Disasters Management Authority, WAM News Agency reported.
Groceries, Supermarkets, and Pharmacies to Remain Open in the UAE
According to the Ministries, all food retail outlets, including grocery stores, cooperative societies, supermarkets, and pharmacies are allowed to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week — on the condition that the said outlets do not exceed a maximum capacity of 30 percent of their total occupancy.
This latest decision was made to help ensure that there is a physical distance of at least two metres between customers — as part of social distancing protocols as well as to reduce overcrowding, both of which go in line with measures to contain and prevent the outbreak in the community.
In a joint statement, the Ministry of Health and Prevention and the National Emergency and Crisis and Disasters Management Authority declared: “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.”
Previously, the two authorities have announced the closure of all shopping malls, commercial centres, and open markets (i.e. meat, fish, and vegetables) for two weeks, with the exception of food retail outlets such as grocery stores, cooperative societies, supermarkets, and pharmacies. Nonetheless, the decision remains subject to further review and reassessment.
#UAE Government: Food retail outlets, including cooperative societies, grocery stores, supermarkets, pharmacies permitted to remain open 24 hours a day#WamNews https://t.co/l2MsOehXj1 pic.twitter.com/rTcNIhxM6i
— WAM English (@WAMNEWS_ENG) March 24, 2020
Prior to these latest announcements, the emirate of Dubai has announced the closure of all cinemas, parks, entertainment destinations, gyms, spas, libraries, and museums. And while all of these measures may seem strict and sudden, let us keep in mind that they are necessary for the protection of everybody’s health, safety, and well-being.
Moreover, let us also comply with the government’s rules on this matter, or else we are liable to face legal measures. For instance, quarantine violators could face up to five years in jail and an AED 100,000 fine — depending on the severity of the offence. In other words: stay at home!