May 15, 2020 / 2:09 PM / 23 days ago

Azerbaijan to allow restaurants to reopen, with conditions

BAKU (Reuters) - Azerbaijan will allow cafes and restaurants to reopen in the capital Baku and other big cities on Monday, but working hours and the number of customers will be restricted, the government said.

The SMS-controlled system of going out will be lifted, as will a ban on those over 65 leaving their homes. Walking on the street and in parks will also be allowed, but in small groups only.

The Muslim-majority country imposed a month-long lockdown on March 24 and extended it until May 31. Its dominant oil sector has continued operating, with workers separated by shifts.

The government began to lift some restrictions last week, allowing shops, beauty salons and hairdressers to reopen in Baku and some other regions.

The country of around 10 million in the South Caucasus has recorded a total of 2,980 coronavirus cases, with 36 deaths.

Reporting by Nailia Bagirova; Writing by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Nick Macfie

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