Muscat: The joyful squeals of children and the pitter-patter of their little feet could once again be heard at beaches and parks across Oman, after they were reopened to the public.
A number of venues, including exhibition centres, gyms, and wedding halls, to name a few, were allowed to reopen by the Supreme Committee to deal with COVID-19, following their temporary closure to halt the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
For Indian national Amit Kumar, it was a chance to take his children out of the house, after they’d been largely confined indoors for much of the last 14 months.
“Unfortunately, there was nowhere we could take them for so long, because although adults were allowed to enter many places, children sadly had to stay at home,” he added. “We decided to take our son and daughter to Qurum beach on Friday afternoon, after about 4 o’clock in the evening, because it was too hot before then.”
The first thing his children did was to kick off their shoes and run gleefully into the water, where they thoroughly enjoyed splashing about after not being able to do so for more than a year. A couple of hours later, their parents took them out to a mall and then a restaurant, two other locations the little ones had not been allowed to enter until very recently.
“They were just so happy to be out again,” said Amit. “Honestly, sometimes you only understand the value of something when it is taken away from you, and to see the happiness on their faces after spending so long cooped up at home is just priceless: it makes you realise how much you miss the things we often take for granted.
“Until about March or April, the children used to go out to play every day, but because the temperatures have suddenly shot up, that was not possible,” he added. “In a way, this decision to allow children to visit restaurants, beaches, parks and other areas has come at the right time.”
Jordanian national Omar Al Jaber took his and his friend’s children to the park, where they played to their heart’s content after meeting each other for so long. Grateful for the opportunities for children to once again play outside, Omar asked people in the country not to take advantage of the loosening of economic restrictions.
“Just because a number of restrictions are lifted does not mean we can also ignore the precautions we still need to follow,” he added. “I am sure many families have understood the importance of public places being available to them once again…let us now abuse this privilege. Otherwise, they might close once again and we don’t know when they will reopen.
“I understand there is the urge to meet families now after being apart from them for so long, but let us continue to follow the procedures we need to, so that the pandemic can come to an even quicker end,” he said.
Once they’d enjoyed a few hours’ play outdoors, Omar took the children to a popular ice-cream parlour. Needless to say, the kids were excited were the kids on being allowed in to such establishments once again.
“You could see the happiness on their faces,” he said. “The children have had an absolutely memorable weekend. We hope we are able to give them many more.”