28 Jul 2020 09:27

Kazakhstan plans to reopen shopping malls, markets as part of Covid-19 quarantine easing

NUR-SULTAN. July 28 (Interfax) - Kazakhstan intends to allow shopping malls, markets, and beauty parlors to reopen starting on August 3 if the epidemiological situation in the country improves, Kazakh Health Minister Alexei Tsoi said.

"If the tightened sanitary and disinfection requirements, the requirement to wear masks, and social distancing rules are observed, a number of infrastructure facilities will be allowed to resume their operations on August 3 if the effective reproduction number is below one, the hospital bed occupancy rate is less than 70%, and if the mortality rate is steadily declining," Tsoi said at a government meeting on Tuesday.

Specifically, shopping and entertainment centers, shopping malls, and store chains with restrictions on opening hours, indoor food and non-food markets, children's correction centers, educational centers, children's early development centers, children's clubs with groups of fewer than five children, and standby groups in children's preschool facilities will be allowed to reopen, he said.

Beauty parlors, hair salons, and also centers and salons offering beauty, cosmetic medicine, manicure and pedicure services will also be able to resume operations by prior appointment.

At the same time, "at least 80% of employees of state organizations and office workers should continue working remotely," the minister said.

In addition, citizens will be allowed to exercise outdoors individually or in groups observing social distancing rules, and national teams' training sessions simultaneously involving no more than 30 people will be permitted. People are currently allowed to walks on streets, visit parks, public gardens, and embankments in groups of no more than three.

Public transport is operating with restrictions on working hours, filled to no more than 50% of capacity, in compliance with mask wearing and disinfection requirements, and in the presence of conductors, the minister said.

Tsoi also reiterated the need to maintain a ban on all kinds of mass events and the operations of entertainment centers, movie theaters, food courts, banquet halls, restaurants, bars, night and gambling clubs.

Religious and cultural facilities, gyms, fitness centers, swimming pools, beaches, and aqua parks will not be allowed to reopen, either.

Furthermore, a ban on suburban passenger train services, the use of sitting carriages, and intercity bus services should also remain in place, the minister said.

Kazakhstan earlier imposed a July 5-August 2 quarantine due to a rise in Covid-19 cases. The operations of a number of sectors were suspended.