Egypt will apply new closing time for shops starting on Dec. 1 with one month as a transitional period, Ahmed al-Wakil, chief of the general unions of the commerce chamber said on Monday.
The shops in populated areas will close at 9:00 p.m. except car repair shops, said Wakil, adding the commercial shops will shut down at 11:00 p.m. in villages and 12:00 p.m. in cities, according to official MENA news agency.
Meanwhile, the shops are required to turn down the lights two hours ahead of their closing time.
He added the closing time for restaurants and cafes is 2:00 a.m. and pharmacies, gas stations, hotels and tourist shops are exempted from the decision.
Egyptian Industry and Foreign Trade Minister Hatem Saleh said the main reason behind the government's decision to close shops at a certain time is due to the country's economic condition and does not aim to harm the interests of sellers, consumers or ordinary people.
Earlier, local media outlets said that the closing time for shops would be set at 10:00 p.m., which touched off complaint of shopkeepers who said their income would decline if they were ordered to close early.
Later, presidential spokesman Yasser Ali said Monday that "the government has responded to demands of the commerce chamber and individuals to promote the public interest and extended the closing time of the shops."