New Covid-19 restrictions come into effect
April 09 2021 10:16 PM
Doha's Souq Waqif stayed closed on Friday in line with the Cabinet decision to close traditional mar
Doha's Souq Waqif stayed closed on Friday in line with the Cabinet decision to close traditional markets on Friday and Saturday. PICTURE: Jayaram.

The new restrictions, imposed by the Cabinet to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Qatar, came into effect on Friday, until further notice. Metro and public transport services have been stopped on Friday and Saturday with capacity reduced to 20% on other days, beauty and hair salons closed on all days, and dine-in stopped at restaurants and cafes.
The other key measures include a closure of traditional markets on Friday and Saturday and a ban on children under 16 in malls or traditional and wholesale markets, social gatherings, sitting in public parks, beaches and the Corniche, and closure of museums, libraries, cinemas and theatres. Travel and return policy will continue.
Public places wore a deserted look yesterday with residents staying away abiding by the new restrictions. The capacity of commercial complexes stand slashed to 30%. Prayer areas and food courts in these complexes are closed, but their restaurants are allowed to cater to home deliveries and pickup orders.
The reduction in the number of employees to 50% at workplace is applicable to government agencies and private sector, with the exception of the military, security and health sectors.
The rest of the employees should work remotely from their homes or upon request, according to the circumstances. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), in co-ordination with the authorities concerned, will determine the necessary activities that are excluded from this decision.
All meetings for employees and workers in both the government and private sectors should be held online. In case this is not possible, and in cases of necessity, the meeting shall be held with not more than five persons, taking into account the precautionary measures.
All citizens and residents need to wear masks when leaving the house for any reason, unless a person is alone while driving a vehicle. Everyone should also activate the Ehteraz application on smartphones when leaving the house for any reason.
Mosques will be open for daily and Friday prayers, but the Tarawih prayers during the month of Ramadan should be performed at home, and children under 12 years are not allowed to enter. Adherence to the precautionary measures set by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs is necessary. Toilets and ablution facilities will remain closed.

The other restrictions that came into effect Friday are as follows:

* Preventing social gatherings and visits in closed places, such as the home and majlis, while permitting the presence of a maximum of five persons in open spaces, including those who have taken both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
* Winter camps must allow only family members who live in the same house.
* Weddings are not to be held in closed or open spaces until further notice.
* Preventing gatherings or sitting at public parks, beaches and the Corniche, and permitting individual sports such as walking, running and cycling, while continuing to close playgrounds and sports equipment in those places.
* Continuing to oblige all citizens and residents to ensure that there are no more than four people in a vehicle, including the driver, when moving around for any reason. The only exception is when a vehicle is carrying family members residing in the same house.
* Continuing with the decision reducing the number of people transported by buses to half of their capacity, while taking precautionary measures.
* Driving schools continue to be closed.
* Allowing private educational and training centres to provide their services through remote communication programmes only.
* Continuing to allow individual educational sessions to be held in centres designated for persons with special needs, while adhering to special requirements set by the MoPH.
* Continuing to disallow the training of sports teams, whether in closed or open spaces, with the exception of preparatory training for local and international tournaments approved by the MoPH.
* Obtaining prior approval from the MoPH to organise local and international sporting events.
* Continuing to postpone all exhibitions, conferences and various events.
* Not to allow restaurants and cafes to serve food and drinks indoors or in open spaces and allow them to serve food and drinks via pickup orders or delivery.
* Continuing with the suspension of rental services for boats, tourist yachts and leisure boats. Exceptions are rental services for family members residing in the same house, or the presence of a maximum of five persons who are not family members, provided they have taken both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
* Continuing to reduce the capacity of traditional markets to 30%, not allowing children under 16 years to enter, and closing these markets on Fridays and Saturdays every week.
* Continuing to operate wholesale markets at a maximum 30% of their capacity, and children under 16 years are not allowed to enter.
* Continuing with the closure of amusement parks and all entertainment centres.
* Continuing to close health clubs and physical training clubs, stopping massage services, saunas, steam rooms, jacuzzi services, and Moroccan and Turkish baths.
* Continuing with the closure of all swimming pools and water parks.
* Continuing to stop providing medical services in private healthcare facilities, except for emergency cases, and allow any of these private health facilities to provide some of their medical services if possible through modern means of communication.
* Not to allow the services provided by cleaning and hospitality companies during the working hours of establishments contracted with them, and allowing the provision of their services at full capacity outside the working hours of those facilities. Also, allowing the provision of their services at homes by one person only while adhering to the special requirements set by the MoPH in co-ordination with the MoCI.

The Cabinet also noted the measures that have been taken regarding the adoption of the distance education system and the suspension of student attendance in all public and private universities, schools and kindergartens, as well as the continuation of the current travel and return policy to Qatar.
"The Council calls on all members of society, citizens and residents, to assume responsibility by adhering to the precautionary measures and procedures and to avoid crowded places to maintain their safety, and to limit the spread of this pandemic so that none of them will be subject to the penalties stipulated in Decree-Law No 17 of 1990 regarding the prevention of infectious diseases, as amended by Law No 9 of 2020, by imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years and a fine not exceeding QR200,000, or one of these two penalties," the report adds.

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