Businesses vow strict preventive measures

BUSINESSES in Bahrain that have been hit by closure since the coronavirus pandemic started in March are prepared to enforce stringent precautionary measures to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Parliament financial and economic affairs committee chairman and Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) board member Ahmed Al Salloom said separate remote meetings with business representatives over the weekend have shown they were ready to resume operations.

Salons, hairdressers and massage parlours, gyms, fitness studios, cinemas, recreational facilities and sheesha cafes have been closed over fears that social distancing was not being observed.

There have many complaints that a number of businesses have been bleeding cash, with the key challenge being to continue paying the salaries of expat workers.

Under the Business Continuity Support Programme, Tamkeen has been offering financial support to adversely affected small and micro enterprises.

However, several business have been referred to the Public Prosecution for violating rules and offering home service and deliveries.

The UAE has allowed shops, restaurants and cafes to reopen, while Germany and France have permitted hairdressers and salons to resume operations, though under strict restrictions.

China has also reopened Shanghai Disneyland under new social distancing guidelines and the Netherlands has introduced quarantine glasshouses for dining.

“Bahrain being a small country, crowd control and social distancing will be easier to manage,” said Mr Al Salloom, who is also the chairman of the Bahrain Small and Medium Enterprises Development Society.

“We have to be realistic and accept that life must go on, though under new circumstances and rules forced by Covid-19.”

Mr Al Salloom, who is also Bahrain Bloc president, said during the remote meetings that the business representatives had shown serious commitment to enforce strict Covid-19 guidelines. “All businesses are ready to open with reduced capacity and enforce temperature checks, social distancing and hygiene,” he said.

“Cinemas would have people seated, in one row, on chair one, chair four and so on, while in the second row people will be seated on chair three, seven and so on leaving two-chair spaces.

“At the end of each show and start of next show, the place would be disinfected.

“Hairdressers, salons, massage parlours, spas and gyms will limit number of people inside and the place and equipment will be cleaned and disinfected every hour.


“All items in hairdressers’, salons and barber shops will be disposable and services could be limited to essential with additional costs incurred by customers with workers not allowed to remove masks or gloves.”

Mr Salloom said social distancing will be respected at dine-ins and sheesha cafes, while disposable material would be used.

“All dine-ins and sheesha sit-ins would ensure sufficient distance between customers of no less than two metres,” said Mr Al Salloom, who owns a chain of sheesha coffee shops in Bahrain.

“Sheesha customers will have to buy the equipment for their repeated personal use within a shop, with customers also needing to buy disposable pipes and mouth pieces.

“All places will be disinfected hourly and no customer allowed unless temperature checked.”

Mr Al Salloom said entertainment facilities like ice rinks, snooker, children’s rides, video games and bowling have presented ideas but were asked for further details.

“The only viable entertainment services were ice rinks and snooker with clear distancing already respected but the rest needed to show strict measures and contingency plans that have not been presented.”




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