Addu City Council lifts restriction on shop, café business hours

Addu City Council headquarters. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Addu City Council, on Saturday, announced the decision to revoke its restriction on the business hours of shops, cafes and restaurants, which had been imposed as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.

The council had announced the restriction on business hours of service providers, with the exception of health centers and pharmacies, on Wednesday, 25.

It said that effective from 6 pm on Thursday, March 26, business hours must be limited from 6 am to 6 pm, and that cafes and restaurants had the option of providing delivery services from 6 pm to 10 pm, but needed to file an application with the district office.

However, the council, on Saturday, issued a second public notice, announcing the cancellation of its previous notice.

It said it make the decision to lift the restrictions with reference to the judgment of Health Protection Agency (HPA).

HPA does not find there to be any grounds to warrant such a measure in any region of Maldives, except for the Male’ region, said the council.

While the restriction on business hours have now been lifted, the council stressed that Maldives was in a state of public health emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic, and urged the businesses to “prioritize” providing services from 6 am to 6 pm.

Residents of Addu City, likewise, have been urged not to venture out of their homes and to finish their business by 6 pm.

Local Government Authority (LGA) had issued a circular on March 15, warning councils against imposing any restrictive measures without the instructions of the Director General of Public Health.

The authority to order restrictive measures during a state of public health emergency lays with the Director General of Public Health alone, it said.

Following controversy over the move, Addu City Mayor Abdulla Sodiq said the decision to restrict business hours was taken at the directive of the Director General of Public Health Maimoona Aboobakuru. This has been denied by HPA.