After months of restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, people in most Moroccan regions are resuming usual social activity, leaving locals relieved and worried at the same time.
As Morocco begins to ease lockdown restrictions, Moroccans are expressing mixed feelings on the situation. Morocco’s Ministry of Health and Ministry of the Interior announced on June 19 that all Moroccan provinces and prefectures would become part of Zone 1, where the coronavirus-related restrictions started to ease on June 25, with the notable exceptions of Marrakech, Assilah, Kenitra, Tangier, and Larache.
Under the umbrella of easing the restrictions, public spaces and businesses have been allowed to resume operations. Public transport, salons, and restaurants are functioning with 50% maximum capacity to ensure the required social distance.
Morocco World News (MWN) interviewed individuals from different parts of the country in order to get a clear picture of the way they feel about the current circumstances in Zone 1.
Asmae Rahmoun, a fourth year student at Morocco’s National School of Business and Management in Casablanca, returned home to Sidi Bennour in March. The business student has mixed feelings about the recent ease of restrictions.
“I never considered COVID-19 to be a serious threat as my town Sidi Bennour has thankfully not registered any cases, and I am really happy that most regions in Morocco are finally easing restrictions, but at the same time the recent increase in daily cases has been stressing me out,” Rahmoun said.
The business student also mentioned the lessons she has learned over the course of the past few months, saying that this pandemic has taught her “not to take simple everyday life activities for granted, whether hanging out with friends, taking walks or eating at restaurants.”
“I realized just how much of a blessing it is to be able to interact with people regularly,” Rahmoun continued.
Fatiha El Harrab, an employee at Lyazidi insurance company, stressed the importance of taking personal precautions during this phase. “As a mother, I try my best to urge my surroundings to be as hygienic and vigilant as possible.
Wearing masks, respecting social distancing guidelines, washing and disinfecting hands as much as possible and limiting physical contact with others are absolutely crucial to fight this crisis,” El Harrab said.
The need for collective commitment to preventive measures
Halima Zaari, a professor at Mohammed V University’s Faculty of Sciences in Rabat, pointed out societal issues. Zaari thinks that Moroccans should take precautionary measures more seriously.
“Sometimes when I’m grocery shopping or taking walks, I notice that many people do not respect social distancing and wear masks improperly,” Zaari mentioned.
The professor feels the government ought to work on informing and educating citizens on the dangers of COVID-19 and the precautionary measures to take, especially in rural areas, where people may not have access to state television and other tools to research the consequences of the pandemic and its evolution.
Mohammed Chaiba, another fourth year student at Morocco’s National School of Business and Management in Casablanca thinks that “slowly getting back to a pre-pandemic routine is a lovely feeling.”
The business student has noticed that most people in Casablanca — the most severely hit region in Morocco — have seemingly transitioned back to leading normal lives.
Despite the fact that most people still wear face masks, Chaiba pointed out that they are not properly practicing social distancing. “Some public spaces are seriously crowded and people are not maintaining the required social distance, which is quite odd given the circumstances,” Chaiba said.
Abdelaziz Daanoun agrees with Chaiba’s point. According to Daanoun, many believe that COVID-19 no longer poses a threat and refrain from taking precautionary measures such as wearing face masks and maintaining social distance.
Nonetheless, Daanoun highlighted some benefits that the easing of restrictions will bring about. In Daanoun’s words, “people will have more freedom to perform social activities for leisure purposes, and the economy will benefit from eased restrictions.”
Morocco is currently undergoing a delicate phase in its fight against COVID-19, and it is the responsibility of citizens to be cautious and behave in accordance with health protocols.