ABU DHABI // Almost three quarters of the capital's grocery stores have been upgraded or registered to be upgraded before next month's deadline.
Hundreds of groceries were closed by the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority after failing to comply with a January 1 deadline to meet the new Baqala standards, which include better refrigeration, shelving and decor.
The deadline was extended until March 6 for registration and June 30 for the work to be completd. Stores that were upgraded or registered were allowed to reopen until the work was done.
Only stores smaller than 200square metres but bigger than 35 sq metres are allowed to become Baqala groceries. Smaller ones have closed.
A study last month found 52 per cent of the total grocery space had been renovated.
The authority revealed this week that 71 per cent of all groceries had made renovations or applied to do so.
"The numbers are what we were expecting," said Mohammed Al Reyaysa, the authority's director of communications. "Driving around in Abu Dhabi city, especially after June 30, you will see a lot of Baqalas everywhere."
"Some areas which had many groceries before might have only seen three or four open up, but we are expecting more companies and other types of supermarkets to come to Abu Dhabi and open after June 30."