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Aqaba cafes, businesses follow city’s hotels in calling for end of curfew

By Maram Kayed - Jun 24,2020 - Last updated at Jun 25,2020

AMMAN — Citizens, merchants and employees in Aqaba’s tourism industry have followed the city’s hotels in demanding the extension of curfew hours after midnight, claiming that businesses “require longer working hours” at night amid high summer temperatures.

“It is known that Aqaba’s weather in the summer is unbearable during the day, and previous summers have proven that customers start coming in after 8pm, which is of course not feasible now as sectors prepare to close at 10:30, according to the defence order,” said Rawhi Khreisat, the owner of a seafood restaurant in Aqaba.

“Aqaba and its beaches are very beautiful at night, especially in the summer, which is why residents and tourists are asking the government to reduce the curfew hours or to cancel the curfew altogether, especially since Aqaba has not registered a single coronavirus case,” he added.

Saddam Kharouf, a café employee, told The Jordan Times that citizens “do not sit in cafes to smoke shisha or eat dinner before sunset”, noting that they usually start arriving after 9pm.

“With the current curfew hours, citizens do not stay for more than an hour as cafes begin the process of closing up at 10:30pm. This hurts the business because it means that citizens make fewer orders and others do not visit at all because they think one hour is not worth it,” he said.

Minister of State for Media Affairs Amjad Adaileh has confirmed in previous press statements that a move to lift the curfew completely and a return to normal life “depends mainly on the epidemiological situation in the Kingdom”, indicating that if no local cases are confirmed for three weeks in a row, such a return might be possible.

Adaileh has also stressed repeatedly that “Jordan’s success in getting rid of the pandemic depends on the ability of its neighbouring Arab countries to eradicate it, as quarantining people from abroad, closing borders and preventing travel are also signs of an abnormal life”.

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