Since we just started getting used to going home early instead of partying past midnight, Egypt are keeping restaurants, cafes, shops and malls closed early after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
The end of quarantine is almost in sight, and while we've been bursting at the seams to get out these past few months, the post-Corona reality ahead of us still remains an elusive mystery. We know that we eventually need to get back to our normal lives, but what aspects of normality should stay a thing of the past? Spending hours on end every evening in ahwas and cafés, diffusing both our energy and our pockets until the sun rises to remind us how little sleep we've all gotten, may be one of those things - according to the state, at least.
The Council of Ministries has decided that the new closing hours of 9 PM for shops and malls, and 10 PM for restaurants and cafés, will be made permanent even after regulations for Corona cease. Why? As spokesman for the council, Nader Saad, puts it, this is a golden opportunity to save human energy spent on ’nonproductive pastimes’ and adopt work hours like those of Europe and North America.
The exact hours may be extended for tourist destinations (which we’re hoping most of Cairo qualifies as), and will change depending on the winter and summer seasons. Will less time spent sipping on shay bl ne3na3 or trawling through malls late into the night truly contribute to a more productive workforce? It’s as unknown as the rest of ‘the new normal’ that awaits us.