As part of the government measures to combat the spread of the emerging coronavirus (COVID-19), Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA) has issued Circular No. (5) of 2020 regulating facilities' work at Abu Dhabi's fish markets, to ensure the health and safety of consumers. The circular translates ADAFSA's continuing efforts to enhance precautionary measures, to help achieve high levels of health and safety for the society in cooperation with Abu Dhabi Police GHQ, the Department of Municipalities and Transport and Abu Dhabi Fishermen Co-operative Society.
ADAFSA's circular includes a number of preventive measures to reduce consumer congestion in the emirate fish markets, maintaining social distancing, raise health standard among workers and visitors, and regulate fish markets' work in these exceptional circumstances, to ensure services continuity for the public in a safe and proper manner. The authority set times for consumers to access fish markets, as they can enter the markets in the morning from 9 am to 12:30 pm, and in the evening from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.
Furthermore, ADAFSA identified the maximum number of customers allowed to enter the market according to the number of stalls, at a rate of a consumer for two stalls. If the market contains 30 stalls, a maximum of 15 customers will be allowed to enter it at the same time. In addition, the shopping trip should not exceed 15 minutes to buy and exit the market, and then another group will be allowed to enter the market.
ADAFSA urged those in charge of the markets to abide by healthy and safety measures while deliver customers' orders, as well as establishing an appropriate mechanism for customers to book entering times to avoid crowding in waiting zone.
Regarding fish auctions, ADAFSA confirmed that organizing auctions will be from 6:30 am to 9:00 am. In addition to banning collective auctions, auction area will be far from consumers, where only fish merchants, sellers and auctioneers are allowed to enter it. Everyone in the market should abide by the precautionary measures in terms of safe distancing, by keeping a distance of at least 1.5 meters between people, and wearing masks and gloves.
ADAFSA obligated the management of fish markets to implement extensive precautionary measures, including tightening control over entrance and exit gates in coordination with police patrols to avoid consumers random entry, stopping customers that are not wearing masks from entering the market, and providing thermometer guns to prevent the entry of any visitor whose body temperature is above 37.5°C. Providing gloves for visitors before entering, putting sterilization materials at entrance and exit gates, and obliging all visitors to sterilize their hands when entering and exiting the market are among the precautionary measures.
To ensure the health and safety of customers, ADAFSA also emphasized the need to set a daily program to constantly sterilize the market's facilities using approved materials, ensure compliance of the markets' workers with health requirements for selling fish by wearing masks and gloves during all working hours, preventing customers from touching products, regulating waiting time and consumer numbers in front of fish stalls, keeping a distance of at least 1.5 meters between people, and providing adequate ventilation in the market.
ADAFSA supervises the implementation of these measures by the market workers, while Abu Dhabi Police and Department of Municipalities and Transport are responsible for stopping crowding and gatherings outside these markets. Meanwhile, the markets' management are responsible for regulating customer entrance and exit from the markets according to the circular rules, and in a way ensures keeping social distancing between shoppers and workers.