The Cabinet on Friday endorsed a five-phase plan to reopen the country and end the coronavirus lockdown, following a recommendation from the Higher Defense Council and directions from Lebanon’s anti-coronavirus committee.
The first phase will begin on April 27, the second on May 4, the third on May 11, the fourth on May 25 and the fifth on June 8, the Cabinet said.
The first phase of the plan involves the reopening of the food and agriculture sectors, small and retail shops, sweets shops, hotels, some factories and the electricity and water sectors, the Cabinet added in its decree.
The second phase will see the reopening of the remaining factories, restaurants and cafes (30% capacity, no shisha), children parks, outdoors sports courts, barber and hairdressing shops and car repair shops.
The third phase will entail the reopening of nurseries (below 3 years), institutions for people with special needs, Casino du Liban (70% capacity for gambling, 30% for restaurants) and car agencies.
The fourth will meanwhile witness the resumption of the Brevet and Baccalaureate classes at schools, the reopening of universities, malls and shopping centers while allowing cafes and restaurants to raise their capacity from 30 to 50%.
The fifth and last phase will see the reopening of nurseries (3 to 6 years), schools and vocational institutes, pubs, nightclubs, touristic sites, pools, beaches and promenades, gyms and spas, museums, theaters, cinemas, places of worship, religious events, construction sites and entertainment centers (50% capacity) while buses and planes will be allowed to operate.
Conference halls and concert and festival venues will meanwhile remain closed “until further notice.”
Cabinet also extended the so-called state of general mobilization by two weeks, revised the night curfew hours to start at 9pm instead of 8pm, asked citizens above 65 years of age to stay home until May 11 unless it is urgent to go out, and said private firms can reopen on May 11 while abiding by distancing, hygiene and other health instructions.
The public sector will meanwhile continue to operate with the minimum number of required employees while respecting distancing measures and barring overcrowding.
Health Minister Hamad Hasan had earlier told the Defense Council that the government’s measures have spared the country a health crisis but noted that the preparedness of the health sector will continue.
“There is a constant need to provide hospitals with the necessary equipment and to maintain PCR tests to reach 75,000 tests according to the international standards,” Hasan added, expecting the results of these tests to be ready by May 10 at the latest.