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Renewed Friday lockdown draws ire

By Batool Ghaith - Feb 25,2021 - Last updated at Feb 25,2021

An empty downtown Amman is seen during a weekend lockdown in October 2020 (JT file photo)

AMMAN — Social media platforms were buzzing with hashtags and posts against the Friday lockdown after the government decided to reinstate it as part of the efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

As Jordan enters a “new wave” of the pandemic outbreak, according to experts, the number of registered cases increased to several thousands a day. Citizens on social media called on the government to focus on providing more vaccines instead of resorting to lockdowns given their harmful social and economic repercussions.

President of the Jordanian Association for Restaurants and Sweets Shops Owners Omar Al Awad said that a lockdown on Fridays will only contribute to the financial, economic and social hardships of the people.

“The sector, with its various establishments, is experiencing a state of confusion as a result of irresponsible governmental statements,” Awad said in a statement.

Osama, a small shop owner in downtown, voiced his opposition to a Friday lockdown.

“Sales on Fridays are about double those on weekdays, given that Friday is many people’s only day off,” Osama told The Jordan Times.

“I believe that Friday lockdowns do not reduce the spread of the pandemic as people simply shift their Friday activities a day earlier or later,” Osama said.

A 28-year-old working woman, who preferred not to be named, told The Jordan Times about her suffering with the traffic congestion of Thursday, which has been a direct consequence of the Friday lockdown.

She said that her one-way commute to work usually takes 15 minutes, but on a Thursday preceding a lockdown, the same trip takes no less than 40 minutes as people rush in the streets trying to stock up on food and finish their other business.

“I believe that instead of locking us up on a weekend, the government should have a real functioning work from home protocol and fine companies for jamming offices with people and putting them all at risk, we're contacting a lot more people on workdays than on Fridays,” she added

However, not everyone is frustrated about the Friday lockdown.

Saad Shammoot, a local radio presenter, thinks that the Friday lockdown “can be a good opportunity for people to relax at home.”

“There are lots of group traditions that happen on Fridays so I somehow see the logic behind the lockdown. Nevertheless, I try to make the best out of the day at home. The way I have done it, is that I post videos for people to watch on social media. During lockdowns, Friday has become my busiest day of the week,” Shammoot told The Jordan Times on Thursday.

“One can always find a silver lining in a bad situation. Plenty of people do not get time to relax and now they are presented an opportunity to do so,” he added.

 

 

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