Many of us were stuck at home during the pandemic. Some were working from home or doing distance learning sessions, while some have no choice but to continue their office or site work as normal. And especially those who are working in the medical profession and pharmacies, restaurants and food deliveries, groceries and food stores, airline employees, police force, and other essential businesses – they were considered front liners in this battle.
But as we see a gleam of hope in this ongoing battle, especially with the latest announcements during the June 8 Press Conference by the National Strategic Group on COVID-19, we’ve conducted a small survey on our Facebook Page to know where people are most likely to visit first after this pandemic. The results are very interesting.
1. SHOPPING MALLS AND DEPARTMENT STORES (25.6%)
A lot of our respondents surely missed going to the malls for shopping, entertainment, and food. Being stuck for more than three months in our rooms, flats, or homes are becoming unbearable that we wanted to breathe out and see open spaces.
But also consider that when that time comes, let’s make sure to follow the malls’ and even public transports’ regulations on social distancing and other post-COVID-precautions. We saw these being implemented in other countries including the Philippines. Preferably, go to this places only when necessary and avoid bringing along your kids or the elderly, at least during the early stages of re-opening.
2. BARBER SHOPS AND BEAUTY SALONS (23%)
And how we all love to get our haircuts done and visit our favorite salons once again? While some have tried doing it on their own, still, nothing beats the professional care from the experts. But we might see a lot of changes like pre-booking/appointments, and/or pre-paying by cards may soon be part of their new policies. Also, there might be a need to confirm if these shops will be part of the third phase of re-opening on August 1, 2020, which says: 50% capacity at Health clubs, Gyms and pools, Beauty and Massage Parlors, Barbershops/Hairdresser.
3. DENTAL CLINICS (7.7%)
During the early phase of implementing preventive measures in Qatar, the government has suspended the operation of non-emergency medical services in private health facilities, including dental clinics, dermatology and laser clinics, cosmetic surgery clinics and surgeries, with the exception of emergency cases.
Because of this, a number of our respondents are planning to visit the Dental Clinics right after this pandemic. But it is advised to contact these clinics first to confirm if they will be included during the first phase on June 15, which says: 40% capacity selected private healthcare facilities at specific capacity.
4. MASSAGE AND WELLNESS SPA (7.7%)
While we will see most of these establishments re-opening on August 1, 2020, it is always advisable to continue to monitor future announcements and to confirm with the establishments directly. Expect changes in reservation/booking procedures as well as strict compliance with precautionary measures come August 1 during the third phase of the gradual lifting of restrictions.
5. RESTAURANTS AND CAFES (5.1%)
During this whole time, these are some of the establishments that are left open to serve the public – at least through occassional take-aways but mostly on home delivery basis. That is probably one of the reasons why a lot of people did not miss dining out on their favorite restaurants and cafes. However, partial opening of shops in malls is expected during the first phase on June 1, specifically, shops with minimum area of 300 m2 will open, not exceeding 30% mall capacity. It is not clear if this includes restaurants inside the malls as well as those stand-alone food establishments.
Also, we know that the dining scene will never look the same way again as RACHEL MORRIS – one of my favorite bloggers, mentioned in her post: What Will Doha’s Dining Scene Look Like Post-COVID-19?
6. GYM AND FITNESS CENTERS (5.13%)
Staying at home allowed us to endulge on unlimited amount of home cooked food plus food deliveries, plus stocked groceries, and more! Getting hooked on our favorite series or binge-watching Youtube vlogs became even more enjoyable with snacks of varied flavours. Beat that, and the number of calories and gained weights after a quarter… this must be a lot of work afterwards.
While some have engaged themselves on basic cardio-exercises while at home, those who are gym members and fitness enthusiasts are excited to go back to their exercise routines using equipment that are not available at home. However, we might expect some changes in the procedures and policies in light of these centers’ precautionary measures starting August 1 (Third Phase).
7. PET SHOPS (2.6%)
And oh, don’t we forget that stress doesn’t only come to people but also to our beloved pets. Without sunlight exposure, or being enclosed in small spaces also have effects in animals. And when they feel unwell, most pet owners have nowhere to go for veterenary services. So the gradual re-opening of shops and stores in the near future is definitely a welcome development.
8. HOTELS (2.6%)
Staycation, brunch, or celebrations… many of us missed this so much. But our respondents did not consider this as urgent places to visit immediately post COVID-19. Just like the restaurants or cafes, many hotels have been offering takeaways and home deliveries, especially during the Ramadan season. So there’s not much to miss really.
However, many foodie experts are saying we have to bid goodbye to Doha’s colorful weekend brunch scenes. Since most hotels are implementing strict health and safety precautions, and with social distancing strictly in place, then our well-loved brunches will not be available anytime soon.
9. OTHERS (18%)
Not surprisingly, many of us have strengthened our faith and became more prayerful during these times. Many of our respondents are planning to visit their worship places/centers right after this pandemic. True enough, we have more reasons to be thankful and grateful for: those who were not affected, those who got healed, those who were given second chances, those who received help, those who learned their lessons, those who can start anew after this whole ordeal.
GRADUAL REOPENING IN QATAR STARTING JUNE 15!
In a press conference held on 8 June 2020, it was announced that Qatar will lift COVID-19 restrictions in 4 phases:
Phase 1 – June 15
Phase 2 – July 1
Phase 3 – August 1
Phase 4 – September 1
For the full coverage of the press conference which highlights gradually removing the restrictions imposed in Qatar as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, click these links:
Controlled Phased Lifting of COVID-19 Restrictions in Qatar
COVID-19: The gradual lifting of restrictions to begin from June 15 – here’s the full plan
And as we are always reminding our readers, while this is a really good news for all of us, let’s observe safety precaution and wisdom. We don’t want another wave of infections the likes that happened in some provinces of China and Japan. So let’s keep ourselves safe and clean always as we all workout to live our “new normal” lives.
ABOUT THE COVER PHOTO: This photo was taken in July 2019 at the Mall of Qatar.