Retailers will trade for only 12 hours during the lockdown as a preventative measure to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.
According to the Ministry of Investment Trade and Industry (MITI), shops will open from 8am to 8pm following the publication of new regulations by the Office of the President last week.
"Government took a decision to limit trading hours of shops to control the movement of people," the ministry stated.
This is despite the fact that a supermarket licence does not limit legal operating hours. Before the lockdown, most of the local shops were operating for 12 hours and only a few operated for 14 hours with the latest closing at 10pm.
Meanwhile Choppies, which had earlier announced that it was considering operating around the clock in line with previous MITI advice, has also
Choppies CEO Ramachandran Ottapathu told MmegiOnline that the idea to go 24hrs was before the announcement of the new regulation.
"We are a law abiding company and if the law says we operate from 8am to 8pm, we will definitely do so," Ottapathu said.
During the period of extreme social distancing all individuals across the country are expected to adhere to a more severe form of social distancing where movement out of the home is only restricted to those performing essential services and transporting essential goods; and those collecting social protection packages, purchase of usual household or agricultural supplies, and seeking emergency, lifesaving or chronic medical attention.