Qatar announces easing of coronavirus restrictions

Starting June 4, people can exercise outdoors without wearing a mask, and up to four people can be in the same vehicle.

People walk in West Bay area in Doha, Qatar, March 25, 2020. Qatar has imposed a series of measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak, including closing of parks and public areas, banning social gat
Qatar has recorded 62,160 coronavirus cases and 45 deaths [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

Qatar has started to ease its coronavirus restrictions slightly, allowing people to exercise outdoors without having to wear a mask and extending the working hours of the commercial and service sectors.

From Thursday, the permitted working hours for commercial and service activities will be from 7am to 8pm local time, according to the Ministry of Commerce and IndustryThose exempt from the timeframe are supermarkets, pharmacies, restaurants delivery services and a few other essential services, which will operate as normal. 

All industrial activities, contracting companies, and engineering supervisory works – construction sites and engineering offices – will also operate as normal. 

Malls, retail outlets, shopping centres, health clubs, barbershops and salons will remain closed.

Starting Thursday, four people, including the driver, will be allowed to be in the same vehicle. Exceptions for more than four people are made for private vehicles with family members, while buses will continue to operate at half capacity.

Sport can now be practised anywhere, and not only near a person’s residence, while taking into account all physical distancing measures. Wearing a face mask while practicing sports is also no longer required. 

Qatar, which made the wearing of face masks mandatory when leaving the house last month, has recorded 62,160 coronavirus cases and 45 related deaths.

On May 22, the Gulf country with a population of roughly 2.8 million made it mandatory for all citizens and residents to download the EHTERAZ application on their phones when leaving their homes.

The app uses GPS and Bluetooth technology to help track COVID-19 cases, informing users if they come into contact with someone who may have tested positive for the disease.

Not having the app installed could lead to a maximum fine of $55,000 or three years in prison.

Source: Al Jazeera