Small businesses reopen in Tehran as infections slow

Tehran, Apr 18 (efe-epa).- Small businesses began to tentatively reopen in Tehran on Saturday, a week later than much of the rest of Iran.

The move to slowly reopen the economy comes a month after authorities restricted activity to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Shops selling clothes, decorations, household electronics, stationery and furniture resumed activity having been categorized as a low-risk, although the flow of customers was slower than normal, Efe confirmed.

Big shopping outlets like malls will remain closed as authorities try to ensure there is no second outbreak of Covid-19, which has infected 80,868 people in the country so far, although the infection and death rate have slowed.

The health ministry said Saturday that there had been 1,374 new infections and 73 deaths overnight, bringing the total number of coronavirus-related fatalities to 5,031.

In order to reopen, merchants must fill out a form with the health ministry and are given a quick scan (QR) code.

Mayid Rahimi, who works in a furniture shop, told Efe that getting the code “wasn’t complicated.”

“In a few minutes they sent us the QR code.”

The QR codes can be seen hanging above the doors of all the shops reopening this weekend.

Restaurants are still allowed to do home deliveries but only small restaurants are permitted to host a reduced number of customers in their premises. The number of customers depends on the size of the eatery.

“No-one has come to eat,” the owner of a rotisserie chicken store told Efe in Tehran. His shop is permitted to host two people at a time.

“We hope that little by little the people come back,” the businessman said.

The reopening of cinemas, gyms, theaters and shopping malls is still being mulled over by officials.

President Hassan Rouhani confirmed the health ministry was studying the issue closely.

He said the future of schools and universities — which have been closed for two months — was also still up in the air.

Iran is set to permit inter-city travel from 20 April. EFE-EPA


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