A picture taken on on March 25, 2020 shows Egypt's Salah Salem main road in the capital Cairo on the first evening of a two-week long night-time curfew imposed by the authorities to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. (AFP)
“What can we do in the weekend during the coronavirus partial curfew in Egypt?" This is a question many have been asking ahead of the first weekend under the new partial curfew that took effect on Wednesday as part of efforts to curb the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
The short answer is: there is not much to do except to stay safe at home. The long answer will demonstrate why it is more of a-stay-at-home weekend.
TV and online streaming services can provide a gateway to many Egyptians.
Egypt’s Ministry of Culture, in cooperation with the Cairo Opera House, are broadcasting concerts on their Facebook and YouTube pages.
Zawya Cinema is providing a free screening of interesting films and documentaries on video network Vimeo. Its latest online release is the docudrama 'The Past will Return', which will be available till 1 April 2020.
MBC’s Shahid Network, an Arabic video on-demand service, opened its Shahid VIP subscription to all subscribers temporarily with thousands of titles to watch, be they original productions from Egyptian and Gulf TV series or Disney productions and Western films.
Don't forget the paid services of Netflix and local Watch-it with thousands of titles from films, cartoons and shows.
The government earlier this week ordered the suspension of the five daily prayers and Friday noon prayer at mosques.
In addition, the Ministry of Religious Endowments said Friday prayers cannot be held in public gardens.
Public gardens are already closed nationwide.
People can use public buses from 6:30 am to 5:30 pm throughout the week, the ministry of local development said on Thursday.
They can also commute using Cairo’s underground metro from 6 am until around 6:30 pm, the company operating the metro stated.
Those wishing to travel between cities can rely on railway trains from 6 am to 6:30 pm.
Uber Egypt and its subsidiary Careem are providing their ride-hailing cab services in Egypt from 6 am to 6 pm. Uber Bus, meanwhile, will run from 7 am to 5 pm.
Malls, restaurants and popular markets
All shops, other than supermarkets, pharmacies and groceries, will be closed in the weekend to limit public gatherings.
Shopping malls will be closed on Fridays and Saturdays under the curfew. Coffee shops and restaurants are completely shuttered for at least two weeks. Nonetheless, their delivery services are available till 7 pm.
Fast-food chains like McDonald’s suspended their dine-in and take-ways services. Their delivery services will be available from 9 am to 5 pm.
Several fast-food chains are providing free-of-charge home delivery services with special offers on family meals to encourage more people to order.
Uber Eats, Uber’s food delivery unit, also suspended its activities from 6 pm to 9 am.
Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts have temporarily closed all their branches across Egypt for the safety of their customers and staff.
The famous popular working-class market held on Friday in Old Cairo, which is commonly known as the “Friday market” has been suspended for the second weekend in a row.