Stores, restaurants to close early beginning Thursday, minister says

Local Development Minister Ahmed Zaki Abdeen told Al-Masry Al-Youm on Tuesday that a government order to close stores by 10 pm and restaurants and cafes by midnight would be implemented beginning Thursday in all governorates.

The decision is final and there is reversing it, he added.

The state television website reported that a storeowner filed the first case against the early closure decision on Tuesday. Qalyubiya shopkeeper Ashraf Makram filed the case before the State Council Administrative Court.

Makram's lawyer Ali Ayoub said that the order that stores be closed at 10 pm is illegal without reason, and harms the interests of shop owners.

Most people prefer to shop in the evening, especially after 8 pm, Ayoub added.

Also on Tuesday, the Cairo Chamber of Commerce proposed that streetlights and lights outside government buildings be switched off during the day to save energy, rather than shops being closed early.

“This would save 35 percent of energy,” CCC Vice President Ali Shokry told Al-Masry Al-Youm. “The government should consult us on this issue.”

The CCC asked the government to repeal the early closures decision, saying it was “rejected nationwide,” and added that storeowners should at least be given enough time to implement it.

Earlier this month, the government announced that following Eid al-Adha stores must close at 10 pm and restaurants and cafes at midnight to conserve energy. Egypt has been experiencing frequent electricity cuts due to power shortages.

Cairo is known as a city that does not sleep because many stores are open late and restaurants and cafes operate around the clock and the decision, if implemented, would likely prompt an outcry from business owners.

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