By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: Souq Mubarakiya is open for business but you cannot enter the fruit and vegetable, meat and fish markets without an appointment. Kuwait Times visited the market on Sunday and witnessed several people being turned away as they had no barcode to show at the gate.

However, shoppers can visit other areas of Souq Mubarakiya and nearby markets like Souq Al-Kabeer, Souq Al-Wataniya and Souq Al-Safat without an appointment. The coronavirus outbreak led to the total closure of Souq Mubarakiya on April 4. The souq reopened on May 31, but other souqs and malls nearby were only allowed to reopen on June 30.

A man guarding the area told Kuwait Times entry to only the main meat, fish and vegetable markets were restricted because this is where customers normally converge. “To manage the crowd in the area, we needed to implement the appointment system. Without it, definitely there will be a huge crowd and that is what we are trying to avoid,” he said.

“I came because I wanted to buy cheap fresh fish and meat, plus fruits and veggies, but the guard won’t allow me to enter because I don’t have an appointment,” an Indian shopper told Kuwait Times. “I was just told by a friend that Mubarakiya is open, so I came early to buy some food. I normally shop here once a week,” he said. Souq Mubarakiya is a popular shopping destination for citizens and expats alike, with its traditional shops, eateries, cafes and teahouses.