Do Egyptians really go like Egyptians

Corona throws Egyptian economy back

Egypt coexists with Corona - government boosts public life. No lockdown in the event of a second wave. (As of October 14, 2020)

The most severe restrictions were in place at the end of March and throughout April. In the period that followed, the government gradually lifted more and more restrictions, until it then abolished the night curfew on June 27, 2020 with Decree No. 1246/2020, along with other measures. During a regional meeting of the World Health Organization on October 13, 2020, Health Minister Hala Zayed did not rule out a second wave of corona infections in Egypt. What she ruled out, however, was a second lockdown. Instead, the government wants to proceed in a cluster-specific manner.

In addition, the government reopened Egyptian airspace for incoming and outgoing passenger aircraft with effect from July 1, 2020. This was previously blocked on March 19, 2020. Anyone entering Egypt now has to present a negative PCR test at the airport, which in principle must not be older than 72 hours.

Further information, including on the subject of Covid-19, can be found on the website of the Federal Foreign Office and the German-Egyptian Chamber of Commerce in Cairo.

Retail profits the most

The lifting of the nocturnal curfew will initially benefit the manufacturing industry, as companies can now restart full shift operations, including the night shift. However, the manufacturing and construction industries benefited from exemptions even before the curfew was lifted.

The retail sector has benefited far more from the recent easing. In particular, grocery stores, supermarkets, bakeries, butchers and pharmacies are allowed to open again continuously. In contrast, there are still limited opening times for shopping malls (including the supermarkets located in them) and craft businesses - starting from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Restaurants and cafés are again allowed to serve customers in their rooms - subject to a maximum occupancy rate of 25 percent, limited opening times between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. and in compliance with the hygiene precautions prescribed by the Ministry of Health. Outside of these opening times, activities are limited to delivery and collection services.

Trade fairs and congresses can take place again

According to an article in the Egyptian online newspaper masrawy on September 19, 2020 and with reference to the Egyptian official gazette, conferences and congresses have been allowed to be held since the second half of September. These events must take place in hotels or similar establishments that have a certificate from the Ministry of Tourism about a hygiene concept. Conference and congress halls may be used up to a maximum of 50 percent. There is also a maximum number of 150 participants.

Commercial trade fairs can again be held in the open air and with a hygiene concept. The place where the fair takes place, however, may only be half full.

Since the end of June, Egyptians have been allowed to participate in sports clubs, youth, leisure and fitness clubs. Since then, all authorities have also opened their doors to customers. The public transport is in operation continuously except for the time from midnight to 4 a.m.

Man does not live on bread alone

The government has not only thought of physical well-being, but also has leisure and salvation in mind. Therefore museums and other cultural institutions are also allowed to open their doors, again subject to hygiene measures and a maximum occupancy of one quarter. Cinemas, reports Masrawy, have been allowed to occupy 50 percent of the seats since the second half of September. The above article lists other events at which many people typically meet.

After that, open air festivals are allowed again - prerequisite: the event area does not exceed 50 percent occupancy. People are also allowed to celebrate weddings and similar celebrations - but not arbitrarily, but only in hotels or similar facilities with a hygiene concept that has been certified by the Ministry of Tourism. In addition, no more than 300 guests are allowed to attend the celebrations. Finally, since the second half of September, prayers for the dead have also been allowed under certain conditions.

Since the end of June, the Egyptians have been allowed to pray again in one of the numerous mosques or churches. On its website, the Arabic edition of the television channel euronews reports that since the end of August believers have even been able to come together again for Friday prayers in the large mosques.

There is a general obligation to wear protective masks, except on the streets. This requirement has proven its worth with a fine of up to 4,000 Egyptian pounds (EGP; corresponds to around 216 euros). Anyone who moves through Cairo will see an enforcement deficit despite this high fine, especially by Egyptian standards.

These restrictions still apply

Apart from the above-mentioned events, events that involve large gatherings of people are still prohibited. In this sense, public parks and beaches will also remain closed. Face-to-face classes or lectures at schools and universities are also still suspended.

By Sherif Rohayem | Cairo