UAE 25 March, 2020: The Ministry of Health and Prevention and the National Emergency and Crisis and Disasters Management Authority said that food retail outlets, including cooperative societies, grocery stores, supermarkets and pharmacies are permitted to remain open 24/7.
However, they should not exceed a maximum capacity of 30 percent of their total occupancy in order to ensure the minimum recommended physical distance of 2 metres between customers as per social distancing protocols aimed at minimising shared spaces and overcrowding in line with the precautionary measures taken to contain the spread of Covid-19.
“All bodies concerned have to abide by the preventive and precautionary measures taken by the state’s competent bodies to ensure public safety and people’s well-being,” said the two authorities in their joint statement carried by Wam.
The announcement comes further to the statement issued previously by the two authorities on the closure of all commercial centres, shopping malls and open fish, vegetables and meat markets with the exception of food retail outlets, including cooperative societies, grocery stores, supermarkets and pharmacies for two weeks, with the decision to remain subject to further review and reassessment.
22 online grocery apps listed by TRA
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), announced ‘Online Grocery’ that includes the purchasing application of 22 online stores in the UAE, noting that this is a preliminary list and will be subject to updates in the coming days.
The online stores included in the list include large shopping centres and cooperatives, in addition to grocery stores, meat and vegetable shops, and other services.
The start of the current year has seen solid activity in the online shopping sector, indicating a high demand from consumers to shop on the internet, said Wam.
The results of a survey carried out by the Department of Economic Development in Dubai last year showed that 66 percent of its participants trust online shopping while 70 percent trust online payments.
The UAE is classified as one of the leading countries in terms of having developed communications and digital services infrastructure, and the majority of its official and private institutions are adopting solutions to provide services based on technological solutions, whether through smartphones or social media.
Online food and beverage sales in the UAE recorded a cumulative annual growth of 21 percent from 2015 to 2018, according to data prepared by Wilson, the strategic market research company, which gathers and analyses sales data.
Skype, Zoom, Blackboard, Google Hangout apps opened by TRA
TRA, in coordination with the UAE telecom operators (Etisalat & du), announced the availability of a set of applications, exceptionally and until further notice. These applications are:
First, applications compatible with all networks in the country, namely: Microsoft Teams application, Zoom application, and Blackboard application
Second, applications compatible with fixed Internet networks: Microsoft Skype for Business and Google Hangout meet .
TRA will occasionally review the list of available applications.
Union Coop ramps up delivery operations
Dr. Suhail Al-Bastaki, Director of Happiness and Marketing Department at Union Coop said Union Coop is pursuing additional measures in cases of home delivery, to ensure safety and security of consumers by – including the provision of appropriate transportation based on the custom transfer needs of a specific product, thereby conforming the food safety system, routinely cleaning the interior and exterior parts of food storage/ transport units comprehensively and also the areas that come in human contact with the use of disinfectants approved by Dubai Municipality.
Additionally, the delivery officer is committed to taking adequate health precautions at all times, which includes ‘immediate work stoppage’ in case of symptoms of ‘flu’ such as fever, cough or any other symptoms, routine hand-washing with water, soap or approved sterilization disinfectants before and after each operation.
All the staff have been briefed and trained to avoid contact with face, nose, mouth, eyes and use masks, gloves and take other necessary safety measures to ensure product safety and security, said Al Bastaki.
Carrefour fully stocked and open
While shopping malls are closing in the UAE, all our stores remain open and fully stocked for customers, operating at our regular times, said Philippe Peguilhan – Country Manager of Carrefour UAE at Majid Al Futtaim Retail.
“We encourage all our valued customers to shop responsibly and be mindful of others. We have full confidence in our stock and supply chain and we continue to monitor stock levels to ensure we adequately cater to customer needs. We are also working closely with suppliers to ensure that essential products remain at reasonable prices so that our customers don’t experience an increase in their shopping bills,” he said.
In addition to full sanitation of the stores, Carrefour is adding measures to ensure social distancing and preserve the health of our customers and employees. This includes placing acrylic glass screens at checkout counters to reduce contact, and instructional signage to guide customers on the best social distancing practices.