Shopkeepers, artisans and all other sectors that are unable to work remotely are eager to get back to work. However, they are waiting for May 4 to resume “normal” activities.
Of course, we are all eager for things to resume, but there is still a certain level of ambiguity in relation to preventive measures … following the announcement of this targeted deconfinement, will the Tunisians be able to respect them, especially since this decision reassures and calms among other things the panic among citizens?
It must be said that this deconfinement must be synonymous with security, hope and confidence and, above all, with a heightened awareness.
Deconfinement in three stages
Speaking at a press conference held on April 29, 2020 at the Kasbah, Lobna Jribi, Minister to the Head of Prime Minister in charge of Major Projects announced that the deconfinement will be done in a gradual manner and in three stages.
The first stage will begin on 4 May and end on 24 May. The second phase will run from May 24 to June 4. The final phase will begin on June 4 and end on June 14.
From May 4 to June 4, fifty percent of the public sector will resume service, while the liberal professions will resume 100%.
As for shops and ready to wear stores, they will reopen from May 11.
As for hairdressers and beauty centers, they will remain closed due to their inability to comply with the requirements of social distancing.
The second stage, which runs from May 24 to June 4, will concern those sectors which have resumed their activities in the first stage at 50% and may increase to 75% of their capacity.
As for the weekly markets and livestock markets, they will resume their activities during the second phase of deconfinement, i.e. on May 24.
The service sector, the activities related to independent professions, will resume 100% during the first phase of deconfinement, while financial services will resume at 50%.
As far as the public service is concerned, deconfinement will concern central services, justice activities with all its components, municipalities and tax offices, with a capacity of 50% of the number of employees.
With regard to the transportation sector, the Minister indicated that public transportation will be cut in half, while individual taxis will be allowed to carry only two people.
The third stage from 4 June to 14 June will concern nurseries and kindergartens.
End of the school year… a new calendar announced
At a time when parents were concerned about the fate of the school year, the Minister of Education announced the main thrust of the major decisions taken in the context of targeted deconfinement.
”The 2019-2020 school year for all levels except baccalaureate candidates has ended,” he said.
The minister pointed out that candidates for the baccalaureate exams will resume classes from May 28 to June 23, 2020. The main session is scheduled from July 8 to 15 and the results will be announced on July 26, 2020 while the exam session is scheduled from July 27 to 30 and the results will be announced on August 09.
The end-of-basic-education (9th year) exam will take place on July 02 and 03 2020, while the entrance examination to pilot middle schools will take place on June 29 and 30, 2020.
The tests of the ninth and sixth years will be held on the first two terms only, this national examination calendar being subject to change if the health situation requires it.
Tunisians called upon to show conscience
To achieve a successful return to normal, Jeribi insisted on the respect of social distancing measures in public places.
Tunisian citizens are called upon to follow the safety instructions recommended by the Ministry of Health and to wear protective face masks as well as to guarantee the transport of employees.
Employers are also required to sterilize workplaces while respecting social distancing.
On the other hand, persons over 65 years of age, pregnant women and children under 15 years of age will be excluded from the gradual deconfinement plan.
In order to successfully implement the broad outlines of the National Strategy for Targeted Deconfinement, which will come into force on May 4, 2020, citizens are called upon to respect the conditions and measures imposed by the government to battle the pandemic.
For, the possibility of returning to general containment in the event of the spread of the coronavirus remains, unfortunately, a possibility. And as Health Minister Abdellatif Mekki said: “we are not immune to a second wave of the pandemic.”