As Qatar enters Phase 4 of gradual lifting of COVID-19 restrictions on the 1st of September 2020, the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) has issued detailed guidelines for Qatar shopping malls.
These measures are in place to protect the health of customers and employees by reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission during visits to the malls as much as practicable. You can find the detailed guidelines below:
MOPH Guidelines for Qatar Shopping Malls
Regulating Entry and Exit
- Open 50% of entry points only to ensure premises do not become overcrowded (considering floor plan and emergency and fire safety).
- Maintain numbers of customers to 50% of the maximum capacity of the mall. Number of employees should be kept to the minimum possible.
- Stand-alone restaurants in Malls can open subject to Qatar Clean Program for Restaurants.
- Food Courts can open with 2m minimum distance between tables, and up to 30% capacity, with not more than 4 persons per table (6 if from the same household).
- Thermal screening of employees and customers (entry prohibited for those with a temperature of 38 degrees or more).
- Ehteraz App to be downloaded by all employees and customers, and check that the status is green to allow entry.
- Restrict the capacity of customers and employees in shops, and in malls in general, to ensure 1.5 meters between customers (9 square meter space per person), including in queues, except for family groups.
- Remind customers of physical distancing requirements – Clear and visible signage.
- Use floor markings to maintain social distancing.
- No sales or activities that draw large crowds are permitted.
- Decrease lift capacity to the minimum possible.
- Each shop should have a sticker or poster at its entrance indicating the maximum occupancy.
Infection Prevention and Control
- Masks to be worn by all staff and customers all the time.
- Employees must undergo regular testing as per MOPH guidance.
- Disposable gloves may be worn by staff during Mall operations if needed. However, frequent hand sanitization may be a better option than gloves, which can be a source of contamination if not appropriately used, and should be replaced as per MOPH policy and guidance).
- All regularly touched surfaces should be disinfected frequently using standard disinfection products.
- Provision of hand sanitizer at entrances and promote hand hygiene practice.
- Use physical barriers between staff (e.g., cashiers) and customers where practical.
- Salespersons and other mall staff must remain conscious all the time about maintaining the minimum safe distance from customers as face masks may cause people to relax their guard about the safe distance).
- All mall employees should be educated about not going to work if they develop respiratory symptoms or fever and should report sick to their employer.
- Public toilets are opened with limited capacity that does not exceed 50%. Strict cleaning routine between customers.
- Public toilets shall be cleaned and disinfected regularly after each use. No hand dryers.
- Disinfection and cleaning of malls should be done at night after closing hours to minimize the interaction of housekeeping with customers and salespersons.
- Gyms can open subject to MoPH guidance.
Handling of Products
- Minimize handling of products by employees and customers – product lists on display, pre-bagged orders for on-line pick-up.
- Eliminate samples of products to reduce the risk of contamination.
- Discontinue the use of display items that cannot be cleaned and sanitized.
- No test products/ reusable samples (along with any tools to apply makeup) will be permitted.
- Customers are not allowed to try on items such as earrings, rings, etc.
- Re-usable bags: should not be used – recyclable paper bags or single-use plastic bags should be used instead.
- Shops should minimize cash transactions and encourage the use of cards for payments.
- Clean and disinfect the card payment equipment after each use.
Education & Awareness
- Keep employees and customers updated on COVID-19 safety and prevention information and guidelines. The emphasis that protecting public health is paramount to the Mall. Use MOPH health messages and materials. Let customers know what steps you are taking to keep them safe.
- Implement and encourage taking orders online and deliver or use pick-up services.
- Parking spaces shall be restricted by controlling the number of customers and ensure the cars are parked away from each other.
- Special considerations should be made for vulnerable groups to keep them safe and protected, e.g., fast track access and service.
- Vulnerable groups are strongly advised to remain at home (e.g. elderly, pregnant, and those with chronic illnesses).
Additional Guidelines from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry
Ministry of Commerce and Industry has issued additional guidelines for malls and other shopping centres as part of the fourth phase of the gradual lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.
Facilities for children
Children are allowed to enter commercial complexes and shopping centres, including retail shops and restaurants while adhering to the precautionary and preventive measures.
Play areas, amusement parks and skating rinks will remain closed. It is prohibited to hold any artistic, cultural, or entertainment activities inside the malls and commercial centres.
Children’s barbershops can resume their work in accordance with the precautionary measures set for barbershops for adults. They should follow prior appointment system and compulsory masks for the child, companion and the hairstylist.
It is not allowed to receive more than two children in the barbershop at a time and one escort per child is allowed to be inside the shop.
Trial rooms can be allowed following specific health requirements. Rooms designated for measuring clothes, handles, chairs and counters should be constantly sterilized.
Clothes that were measured and not purchased, and items that were returned by customers, should be sterilized. They should not be displayed on shelves and should be set aside for a period of not less than 24 hours.
Maximum number of pieces that a single customer can try per day should not exceed three pieces. The concerned shops have the right to specify a smaller number.
Prayer rooms can be reopened according to the capacity specified by the concerned authorities.
Cinemas can resume their activities in accordance with 15% capacity, following procedures and preventive measures specified. Persons under the age of 18 are not permitted to enter.
Smoking is banned at the entrances to the mall all ashtrays to be removed.
Visitors or limousine drivers are banned from gathering at the entrances to the mall.
Malls and commercial centres will also adhere to the precautionary measures and preventive measures set by the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs.
FAQ On Guidelines for Qatar Shopping Malls
Are children allowed to enter Shopping Malls in Qatar?
Yes, under Phase 4 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions, which begins 1st of September 2020, children are allowed to enter shopping malls.
Can food courts open in Qatar Shopping Malls?
Food Courts can open with 2 meter minimum distance between tables, and up to 30% capacity, with not more than 4 persons per table (6 if from the same household).
Can shopping malls in Qatar operate at full capacity?
No, the number of customers should be limited to 50% of the maximum capacity of the shopping mall.