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Closing hours extended for food outlets and petrol sheds

Cafés and restaurants can remain open until 1 am and petrol stations until midnight after new rules banned the transport of goods in the congested capital before sunset.



Closing hours for food outlets and petrol stations in the capital have been extended with effect from April 1.

Cafés and restaurants can remain open until 1 am and petrol stations until midnight, Adam Thaufeeq, deputy minister of economic development, told state media Sunday night.

Food outlets were previously closed at 12 am and petrol stations at 10 pm along with other shops.

The mandatory closing hours were extended to provide relief to businesses affected by new rules banning the transport of merchandise during the day, Thaufeeq said.

Porters staged a strike when the ban came into force whilst retailers warned of price hikes due to higher wages demanded by labourers and drivers.

But the new unloading rules have eased Malé’s traffic congestion as the island’s narrow roads were free of vehicles parked outside shops or warehouses.

Goods must now be carried and unloaded from vans, lorries or pickups between 6 pm and 6 am, the transport authority announced Friday, citing difficulties caused due to jammed roads.

Cargo clearance hours at the Maldives Ports Limited were also changed to reflect the new rules. Vehicles must now carry out cleared goods from Malé’s commercial harbour from 6 pm to 5 am.