Festive spirit prevails as kingdom opens up

PANDEMIC-WEARY citizens and residents yesterday flocked to malls, gardens and walkways as Bahrain reopened retail facilities after a month-long partial closure.

Families with children were seen in play areas even during the day while shops inside major malls witnessed a substantial crowd.

“We decided to go early in the morning so that our son can enjoy the rides before it gets too crowded,” said Neha Chabbra, mother of a five-year-old, at the play area in Oasis Mall, Juffair.

“But we were surprised to see that families were already waiting there.

“All rides were sanitised and social distancing was maintained and we had a great time.”

Bahrain had announced a decision banning children from recreational facilities on May 20 after studies revealed 42 per cent of the infected among citizens were aged below 12 years.

“It is really joyful to freely go out with family members,” said Hussain Al Sari.

The Bahraini father of two visited a garden in Muharraq and said it had been almost two months since they stepped out as a family.

“We are aware that we need to be cautious, and we will be, but this day is special as there is a feeling of freedom,” he said.

As dusk fell, car parks in major malls were full while several families were seen relaxing at beaches.

Filipino national Nanju Fransisco said she was waiting for this day to get to the Carribou with her friends.

“The closure made a weekend coffee with friends a luxury,” she said.

“I’m sure people are sensible and will behave responsibly so that we continue to enjoy this for longer.”

The GDN earlier reported that the National Taskforce for Combating Coronavirus (Covid-19) had placed Bahrain on the ‘yellow level’ after adopting a four-tier traffic-light style mechanism to assess the virus spread.

The system stipulates four stages – green, yellow, orange and red – based on the average percentage of positive cases out of daily Covid-19 tests or infection rate.

The yellow level has been announced based on the dropping numbers over the last seven days, with all closures being relaxed for the vaccinated people with green shield on their BeAware app, the recovered and children below the age of 12 to be accompanied by a vaccinated or recovered adult.

Gyms, salons and restaurants are hoping to cash in on the rush of customers over the next few days.

Restaurateur and co-owner Ségolène Crêtaux took to social media welcoming diners and reminding people to abide by health protocols put in place by the National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus.

“We are very excited to open our doors again at Café Ségo as our concept relies a lot on dine-in customers,” she said.

“We have received many reservations from our loyal customers and we are optimistic that the coming days will be busy.”

Salons and barbers have had to extend their timings to accommodate the influx of customers.

Nawal Joz, managing director of Joz Beauty Division, who has branches across the island, said, “We have already received a great response in terms of bookings. In fact, we are over booked and have to extend our opening times.

“We have implemented protective measures and practices in our salons and spas so that the risk of infection is reduced as much as possible.”

The kingdom moved into the yellow zone yesterday after witnessing an 88 per cent drop in Covid-19 cases over the last month – from 26,883 active cases on May 27 to 3,188 on June 30.

Source: https://www.gdnonline.com/Details/950064/Festive-spirit-prevails-as-kingdom-opens-up


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