Maldives Police Services confirmed on Thursday that operating hours for businesses are presently allowed from 0900 till 2100 in the evening only.
Speaking at a virtually held press conference, Assistant Police Commissioner Abdullah Fairoosh said that the '9 AM to 9 PM' hour rule would apply not only to shops but also to delivery and take-out services.
Businesses that fail to comply with the regulations will have their permits revoked, said Fairoosh.
The announcement comes whilst the country moves to lift restrictive measures placed amid global COVID19 pandemic.
Previously during the ongoing lockdown, shops were allowed to remain open until 2300 hours.
However, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has announced that with the easing of set conditions, the authority would also increase the number of permits issued to shops and businesses, allowing them to continue services.
According to Male' City's Deputy Mayor Shamau Shareef, individuals seeking to apply for new permits to venture outdoors may continue to do in the same fashion as before, via the portal on the police website.
However, businesses that are seeking new permits or amendments to existing permits must henceforth apply to do so via the City Council's portal.
Furthermore, offices that are seeking to reopen for work, must apply to do so via the portal on the website for the Ministry of Economy and Development.
Shamau added that even applications sent through to the Economic Ministry would be subject to scrutiny by the City Council, after which the final permit would be granted by the Police.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Ismail Naveen revealed that in addition to permissions given for those required to travel between islands at this time, special allowances to travel outward from any one island to another island, including from and within the capital city, would be sanctioned by police authority.
Clarifying that the adjustments being announced would not cancel out any permits that were already given, Asst. Police Commissioner Naveen reiterated that those venturing outdoors must continue to maintain social distance and are required to wear protective gear, such as masks and gloves.
Asst. Police Commissioner Fairoosh further revealed that individuals applying for additional permits would be required to divulge the electricity meter number for their address, as a precaution enabling authorities to verify whether the person was a resident at the given address.
Fairoosh stated that permits for individuals will continue to be set through their automated, random process and therefore timings would depend on the need for which the application was submitted.
The Asst. Police Commissioner divulged that currently, a total of 31,000 people hold valid permits, estimating that therefore 40,000 movements would be occurring throughout the greater Male' region every day.
As businesses were previously granted over 17,000 permits and with movements in the area being estimated to be at 1000 per hour, Fairoosh projected the numbers would triple after the new permits are brought into effect.
The new permits would allow individuals to move throughout Male, instead of being restricted to zones. However, although residents of Villimale will be allowed to come to Male', residents of Male' are not allowed to go to Hulhumale and vice versa.
Revealing that businesses would be required to strictly enforce "3-feet" social distancing and Fairoosh said that the number of people allowed inside each establishment will be restricted to an amount dictated by authorities, following an official visit.
In order to attain bank services, stated Fairoosh, people would have to pre-book appointments and apply for permits in advance. Banks are required to ensure that customers are not congesting areas, and some may even implement temperature checks prior to giving entry.
Although tailors were given permits to run their shops in order to produce recycled masks, thus far the authority does not have plans to give permits to resume regular operations. However, items that were previously given for sewing, may be procured after completion.maybe
Similarly, beauty salons and barbershops will not be allowed to operate, as of yet.
As one of the most densely populated cities in the world, Maldives' capital Malé has recorded a significant increase in COVID-19 cases following the first confirmed local transmission on April 15.
Currently, the total number of cases recorded in Maldives has reached 1513, with 1,266 active cases, five fatalities and 242 recoveries.