Due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in Qatar, the Cabinet has decided to reimpose more restrictions as the country faces a second wave.
In a statement released by the Chair of the National Strategic Group on COVID-19 Dr Abdullatif Al Khal, both the UK and South Africa variants are already circulating in Qatar, despite the strict quarantine policy that is in place for all travellers. The new restrictions, he said, will impact the start of the holy month of Ramadan.
The decisions were announced during the regular Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, HE Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani and made after reviewing the report of the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management.
The new restrictions will be effective starting this Friday, 9 April, until further notice. The restrictions include reducing the number of employees reporting for work in public and private companies; closure of museums, libraries, nurseries; ban of public gatherings in parks and along the corniche.
- Depending on work requirements, the maximum percentage of employees in private sector workplaces will be 50%, with the remaining 50% working remotely.
- Depending on work requirements, the maximum percentage of employees in public sector workplaces will be 50%, with the remaining 50% working remotely. This does not include military, security, or healthcare employees.
- Meetings for private and public sector employees must be conducted using remote technology, but if that is not possible then physical meetings must be limited to a maximum of five people, and social distancing and mask-wearing precautions must be observed.
- All citizens and residents must continue to wear masks when leaving the house unless the person is driving alone in a vehicle.
- All citizens and residents must continue to show their EHTERAZ status when leaving the house for any reason.
- Mosques will continue to remain open for prayers. However, Tarawih prayers must be conducted in homes during the month of Ramadan, and no children under 12 will be permitted to enter, and mask-wearing and social distancing are mandatory. Toilets and ablution facilities are to remain closed.
- Social gatherings in closed places are no longer permitted, and no more than five people who have received the complete COVID-19 vaccine will be permitted to gather in open places.
- Only members of the same family may gather in winter camps.
- No weddings in either open or closed locations will be permitted.
- All playgrounds and sports equipment in public parks, beaches and the corniche will remain closed. Gathering in public parks, beaches and the corniche are not permitted. Individual sports such as walking, jogging and cycling are permitted.
- Occupancy in vehicles will continue to be limited to four people, including the driver, with the exception of families.
- Buses will continue to be limited to half occupancy, and precautionary measures must be observed by all occupants.
- Occupancy on the Metro and other public transportation will be limited to 20% capacity, and the services will be suspended on Fridays and Saturdays.
- Driving schools continue to be closed.
- Cinemas and theatres will be closed.
- Private schools and training centres are permitted to provide classes and training using remote technology.
- Nurseries and childcare facilities will be closed.
- Public museums and libraries will be closed.
- Individual educational session held in places for people of special needs will be permitted provided that mask-wearing and social distancing are observed.
- Sports team training continues to be prohibited, whether in open or closed locations, except for training related to local or international events approved for teams within the ‘bubble system’.
- The organising of local and international sports events continue to require prior approval from the Ministry of Public Health.
- Exhibitions, events and conferences will be postponed indefinitely.
- Capacity in malls and commercial complexes continue to be limited to a maximum of 30% capacity and children under 16 are not permitted to enter. All food courts will remain closed although they are able to operate for deliveries. All prayer and changing areas within these complexes will be closed.
- Restaurants and cafes will not be permitted to serve food inside or outside but may offer food and drinks only through takeaway or delivery services.
- Boat renting services will continue to be suspended except for members of the same family residing in the same house. Private boats and yachts may be used but only by 5 members of the same family residing in the same house. A maximum of five non-family members may also be onboard provided that they have completed their COVID-19 vaccination.
- Capacity at traditional markets will continue to be at 30% capacity and children under the age of 16 are not permitted to enter. The markets will be closed on Fridays and Saturdays.
- Capacity at wholesale markets will remain at 30% capacity but children under the age of 16 are not permitted to enter.
- Salons and hairdressing establishments will be closed.
- Amusement parks and entertainment centres will continue to be closed.
- All health clubs, spas, saunas, training facilities and massage services will continue to be closed.
- All swimming pools and water parks will continue to be closed.
- Private health care facilities will continue to be closed except in emergency circumstances, but consultations may be conducted using remote technology.
- Professional cleaning and hospitality companies will only be permitted to provide their services outside of working hours. Cleaning services in homes will be provided by one person only.
The MOI, MoPH, the MTI and other government agencies, each in its own jurisdiction, shall take the necessary measures in this regard, to ensure compliance with health requirements, procedures and prescribed precautionary measures.
The Council also noted the measures that have been taken regarding the adoption of distance education system, the suspension of student attendance in all public and private universities, schools and kindergartens, and the continuation of the current travel and return policy to the State of Qatar.
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