Qatar’s Phase 3 reopening on 28th July; Guidelines released

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Qatar’s Chair of the National Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of the Infectious Diseases Division at Hamad Medical Corporation, Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal updated that country will initiate its third phase of the gradual lifting of pandemic restrictions from July 28. 

Dr. Hamad Al Romaihi, Director of Health Protection and Communicable Disease Control at the Public Health Department and co-chair of the National Pandemic Preparation Committee has revealed the new guidelines to be enforced as part of the reopening.

General Instructions 

  • Closed gatherings are limited to 10 people and 
  • Open gatherings are limited to 30 people in open spaces. 

Social gatherings

  • People participating in gatherings of any size are expected to:
    • wear masks
    • practice hand hygiene
    • maintain a physical distance from others (1.5 m)
    • avoid any kind of physical contact, including handshakes, etc.
    • ensure proper ventilation
  • People over 60 years old, pregnant women and those suffering from chronic conditions should try and avoid social gatherings, if possible.

Malls, Souqs and Wholesale Markets

  • Malls will continue to operate at 50%
  • Souqs can operate at a maximum capacity of 75% and
  • Wholesale markets will continue to operate at 30% capacity.
  • Children under 12 years will not be allowed at any of these facilities.

Barbershops and Hairdressers

  • Barbershops and Hairdressers are expected to be operational at up to 30% capacity with strict cleaning and disinfection measures.
  • Use of Masks, face shields, and gloves are mandated to all staff operating in these facilities.
  • All staffs are to be tested for COVID-19 prior to opening.
  • Only clients with scheduled appointments to be allowed entry to ensure physical distancing and avoid crowding.

Restaurants

  • Selected restaurants will be permitted to open at up to 50% capacity if they are accepted for pre-registration and certification by Qatar Clean Program.
  • Precautionary measures including a minimum of the 2-meter distance between tables and a maximum of 4 people per table (6 if from the same household) has been enforced.
  • Food courts in shopping malls will remain closed during phase 3.

Gyms, Outdoor Swimming Pools and Waterparks

  • Gyms, Outdoor Swimming Pools and Waterparks can re-open at a maximum capacity of 50%.
  • Indoor swimming pools, sauna, steam rooms, Jacuzzis, and massage services will remain closed in this phase.
  • Swimming pools are expected to be monitored by staff to ensure guests maintain physical distancing in and out of the pool.
  • Sharing of water bottles, towels, and other personal items will not be allowed at these premises.

Parks, Corniche and Beaches

  • People should avoid sitting and picnicking while outdoors.
  • A maximum of 30 people will be allowed to be in a group at these places.
  • Playgrounds, skate parks and gym equipment will remain closed in this phase.
  • People walking outdoor are expected to wears masks.
  • However, people who are exercising outdoors should maintain a physical distance of at least 2m from others. Use of masks during the process is preferred but not mandated.

Return to Work

  • A maximum of 80% of employees will be allowed to work on-site with 20% to continue working from home.
  • In-person gatherings of any form including meetings should be limited to 10 people in one room.

Private Healthcare Facilities

  • Private Healthcare Facilities can operate at an increased operational capacity between  60% to 80%.
  • These facilities can conduct home visits with the following precautions:
    • All staff must undergo COVID-19 testing before conducting home visits.
    • PPE (masks/face shields/gloves) to be worn by healthcare workers for home visits with strict hand hygiene and disinfection of bags/equipment/ hard surfaces between patients.

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