On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health and Prevention and the National Emergency and Crisis and Disasters Management Authority announced that all food retail outlets, including cooperative societies, grocery stores, supermarkets and pharmacies in the UAE can remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The decision reported by official news agency WAM comes at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has swept across the world.
However, the statement issued by the authorities added that the percentage of shoppers in each of these establishments at any time must not exceed 30 per cent of its total capacity.
Also, customers must adhere to social distancing norms and maintain a distance of two metres between each other.
“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,” said the two authorities in a joint statement.
On Monday, the UAE urged people in the country to stay at home unless it’s absolutely necessary to get essential supplies, such as food and medicine, or to perform “essential jobs”.
As part of that directive it ordered that all commercial centres and shopping malls along with fish, meat and vegetables markets will be shut for a renewable period of two weeks.
Several supermarkets including Carrefour, LuLu and Grandiose have issued statements confirming that they are ‘fully stocked’ and were carrying out regular santisation operations, while also urging customers to bring their own shopping bags.
On Tuesday, the UAE’s telecom authority, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), published a list of 22 applications of online stores in the country which include large shopping centres and cooperatives, as well as grocery stores, meat and vegetable shops, and other services.