Shops in the Delta governorate of Qalioubiya will be among the first to abide by Egypt's strict new closing hours, governor Adel Zayed said on Tuesday.
From 3 November shops will be forced to shut their doors by 10pm, as the northern governorate joins a controversial Egypt-wide initiative the government says will cut electricity consumption and ease pressure on the state budget.  Restaurants will have to close at 12am on weekdays, but can remain open an extra hour on Thursday and Friday. Pharmacies and establishments officially classified as catering to tourists will be exempt. The intiative will be reviewed in April 2013 to evaluate its results, Zayed told Ahram's Arabic-language news website on Tuesday. The mid-October announcement of the new curfew by Egypt's governors' council prompted a chorus of disapproval from the country's small business owners, who fear it could have a devastating effect on trade. Government officials claim early closing could save up to LE6 billion  ($1bn) in electricity, but have not presented details of how they reached this figure. Night-time shopping is a deeply ingrained habit among Egyptians, with shops selling all manner of goods remaining open well into the early hours.