As of Tuesday 12 May, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry made the decision to reopen money exchanges (with mandatory safety measures to be enforced by the exchanges) which include: 1- wearing a face mask (another announcement was made that failure to wear a mask could result in a 200,000 Riyal Fine and/or 3 years in jail), 2- maintaining social distancing rules 3- not allowing too many customers in shops at the same time.
Since then, there have been photos of crowds at exchanges circulating on social media. Some have claimed that the photos were fake, so two members of the ILQ team passed by some areas in different parts of Doha to see what was happening and whether the money exchanges and their customers were following social distancing guidelines. Here's what we found out.
In Bin Omran this morning there were queues of people waiting to enter the exchange. Adequate social distancing was not maintained.
A large number of people were lined up in front of the money exchange waiting for their turn. No one was practicing social distancing until a police officer came and took charge of the situation. He also told all those who had no business in the money exchange to leave.
Over at Bank Street, we have to say we were very impressed with Al Fardan Exchange. They followed strict guidelines and had security members enforcing separation between customers.
This is another picture outside the Al Fardan Money Exchange on Bank Street:
Some people outside the Gulf Exchange on Ali bin Abdullah Street were also seen practicing social distancing although there were people still mixing. One suggestion is to have markers placed to guide people on where to stand and to also have staff policing where people stand. Let's be honest here, Shop's and security have to be strict or there are those that simply ignore the rules.
Al Zaman Money Exchange even had chairs placed outside so people could not only practice social distancing but also had somewhere to sit and rest as they waited for their turn. A nice gesture of course, however, we should all be minimizing the number of surfaces we touch when we go outside.
At a time like this when it is our responsibility to follow all the guidelines set out by the MoPH and other relevant authorities to help prevent the coronavirus (COVID-19) from spreading, we must all play our part. The exchanges were opened because many expats rely on exchanges to send money back home. Let's all not ruin this. If you see any crowd in front of an exchange and it looks like either the people or the exchange is not following safety measures, please report them to authorities by contacting the authorities.
Call Center: 16001
Email: [email protected]
At the end of the day, it is the duty of the people, the business owners and the authorities to each play their role. Everyone is playing their part. Please make everyone's lives easy and practice social distancing and try to continue to use online exchange services wherever possible.
CLICK HERE for the guide we put together on online services!
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