Tunisia's prime minister announced Saturday that a curfew tightened to combat a rise in coronavirus infections and deaths would return to hours previously in place, following a presidential request.
The government this week had called on governors to begin the nightly curfew at 7 pm instead of 10 pm, from Friday until the end of the month.
The announcement came before the start next week of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, during which the faithful fast from dawn to dusk and typically gather for evening meals with family and friends.
Several employers' and workers' organizations, particularly in the hospitality sector, had protested the move.
After meeting with governors, Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi said the curfew would remain from 10 pm to 5 am, adding "there is a social reality to consider".
He cited "the president of the republic's request and concerns expressed by certain segments of the population" over the additional restrictions, but also emphasized the epidemiological situation was "very serious".
Private and public gatherings remain banned and Mechichi urged Tunisians to be more vigilant about physical distancing and wearing masks.
The country of some 11.7 million has officially registered more than 268,000 coronavirus cases and over 9,100 deaths, and hospital officials have spoken of a "dangerous" situation.
President Kais Saied on Friday told Mechichi, with whom he is at political loggerheads, that the more restrictive curfew hours should be "revised to take into consideration the economic and social situation as well as the scientific aspect".