Maldives Police Service, on Thursday, announced that as more business are allowed to re-open with the easing of the lockdown on the populous capital, businesses will need to apply for new permits through a virtual platform set up by the Male’ City Council.
Male’ City went into lockdown on April 15, when the city had identified its first coronavirus case, confining roughly one-third of the Maldivian population to their homes. The government has announced it will begin easing some the restrictions this Thursday.
The government will begin easing the lockdown over the upcoming weekend. The easements are scheduled to be rolled out in phases. The first phase will last two weeks and the easements announced for the phase are mainly to promote economic activity.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Ismail Naveen appeared for a press conference at the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) on Thursday afternoon.
Speaking at the press conference, Naveen announced that during the first phase, businesses will need to apply for permits through a virtual platform set up by the Male’ City Council, and that the police will approve applications through the council.
He said that details regarding the process will be released later this Wednesday.
“In the first phase of the ease down plan, applications must be sent through a city council portal. The police will hereafter issue permits through this permit. This means that permits issued for social and business purposes will hereafter be vetted by the Male’ City Council and MED [Economic Ministry]. Permits will be issued based on how many [applications] are forwarded by them,” said Naveen.
Naveen said the change applies new permits, and that people can continue to use the permits which have already been issued by the police.
The only locations the police will not issue permits to are locations which are under quarantine or monitoring by health authorities.
“Previously issued permits will continue to be valid. And we are processing the applications we have received. Those permits will be issued,” he said.
Naveen advised those with permits for grocery shopping to wear masks and take other protective measures when going out.
He said the authorities will not impose any limitations in issuing permits to allow the elderly to step outside their homes for fresh air between 5 am to 8 am.
“We will issue permits to everyone who applies. The only condition is that they are 60 years of age [or above]. But I advise those who use this permit not to form groups and stand around talking. This ease is to get some exercise,” said Naveen.
He said that who wish to visit the bank will be issued permits by providing the banks with a special link.
“For example, those who will go to the bank tomorrow will be issued an appointment today. They [the banks] will be able to control the number of customers they will serve per day,” said Naveen.
Naveen repeatedly advised shoppers to follow the social distancing markers outside grocery stores and to maintain physical distance between each other.
“Pay special importance to these markings. And shoppers and service providers must maintain the queues,” he said.
The police are scheduled to release a statement providing detailed instructions on application for new permits on Thursday night.