Only selected outlets shall have to remain closed during Friday prayers and not all offices and shops in Qatar as mentioned in a section of the media yesterday, it is learnt.
Article 13 of Law No 5 for 2015 covers commercial and industrial outlets, similar public facilities and street peddlers. The law stipulates that the working hours of specified outlets shall be regulated by a decision issued by the Minister of Economy and Commerce (MEC) based on the suggestions of the administrative department concerned at the ministry.
According to the new law, the minister shall issue a decision, based on the suggestions of the administrative department concerned at MEC, to specify outlets which shall close their doors and stop undertaking any activities during Friday prayers for an hour and a half, starting from the first call for prayers.
The law does not mention anything about imposing a general closure order on all commercial outlets in the country during Friday prayers, or penalising all those who conduct normal business during such period.
“A decision regulating the working hours of the places (outlets) subject to the stipulations of this law shall be issued by the minister concerned, based on the suggestion of the competent department.
“The outlets that are to be specified by a decision of the minister, based on the suggestion of the competent department, shall close their doors and stop conducting any work during Friday prayers; this goes on for one hour and a half, starting from the first call for prayers,” Article 13 of Law No. 5 of 2015 issued on Tuesday by HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said.
Outlets that fail to abide by the law will be fined QR10,000.
The law also stipulates stiff fines for hawkers who break rules. Street vendors violating the law have to pay a fine of QR10,000-QR50,000, besides serving a one-year jail term.
Rules regulating the renewal of licences of commercial and industrial establishments have also been tightened. Violators have to pay a fine of QR500,000 per month up to three months if they fail to renew their licences. Some could even lose their licence.
Article 21 of the law says that street vendors must obtain a licence from a competent authority. The Minister of Economy and Commerce sets conditions for issuing the licence.
Article 23 states that the vendor must display the licence when he is selling goods/ services. In the event of the vendor loses his licence or he decides to discontinue his business, he has to inform the competent authority.
According to Article 24, street vendors should not pester the public for selling goods and services; they should not conduct their business near schools, educational centres, hospitals or health centres; they should not sell or display fireworks or any goods prohibited by law; they should suspend their business at times specified by law; and they cannot sell goods/ services by shouting, using bells or through the public address system.
According to Article 14, businesses shall have to show a copy of their licence when they approach an organisation for advertising purposes.
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