Malé City has begun its journey towards the “new normal”, by starting the phase 1 of easing lockdown measures imposed on the capital city. The lockdown measures were implemented as per the directions of Director General of Public Health Maimoona Aboobakr, after a community spread of COVID-19 was confirmed last April.
After being in a situation of a lockdown for over a month, the government of Maldives has released the measures to follow while it eases the lockdown of Malé City in phases. The first phase of easing the lockdown will last for a two-week period following May 29. While the government has released measures to follow during the ease of lockdown, it has warned people to be careful during this time as number of COVID-19 cases could increase.
Here are some important measures implemented by the government during Phase 1:-
Individuals may continue to go out to access essential needs in Male’, Hulhumale’ and Villimale’ with a police permit. It is decided that Three person from each household will be permitted to go outside for two hours, two times a week. There will no longer be designated zones as previously that would restrict movement.
Health Protection Agency has advised people to wear a mask while being outside, making it mandatory to wear them in closed-space service outlets.
Operation of Business activities:
It has been decided that essential businesses will be open to customers between 9 am and 9 pm, but with certain restrictions. Masks are mandatory for all salespersons and customers, while number of customers in the store at any given time must be limited. Furthermore, physical distancing of 3 feet must be complied with at all times.
Also, all surfaces frequently touched by the salespersons must be thoroughly disinfected and cleaned, while salesperson or customer who are ill must not be allowed into the place of business.
HPA has said that it encourages Cashless transactions and opting for delivery services during these times.
Essential business allowed to operate at these times include wholesale and retail stores and supermarkets selling essential commodities, pharmacies and drug stores, children’s stores, bakeries, bookshops, stores selling stationer and hardware stores.
Activities and gatherings:
Under the Phase 1 of easing lockdown, personal or public gatherings are not permitted. Funeral services will continue as before and HPA has advised to avoid visiting family members unless it is an emergency.
HPA says that Taxi permits will continue to be issued as they are now. However, certain measures must be followed while using a taxi. For example, masks are mandatory for both taxi drivers and passengers. The passengers must ensure hand hygiene by use hand sanitizers, while a partition must be in place between the taxi driver and passengers.
Passengers are not allowed to be seated on the front passenger seat and cashless transactions are encouraged to pay taxi fares instead of cash exchanges.
Banks will be open for business three days a week. In the days of operation, patrons will be screened for their temperature upon entry.
The number of individuals allowed to enter the bank at any given time will be limited and individuals must pay attention to maintain physical distancing of at least 3 feet.
While making appointments for services, physical distancing of at least 3 feet must be maintained in queues formed using the queue management system and no more than 5 customers and bank clerks must be present in close proximity to each other.