The government has partially lifted restrictions on travel within Dubai starting Friday (April 24), which coincides with the start of Ramadan. The public is now allowed free movement without a permit from 6am to 10pm, however, from 10pm to 6am residents will only be allowed to travel from their homes for medical emergencies.

Residents are also required to strictly follow precautionary measures such as maintaining physical distance from others and wearing a face mask. Those who do not wear a mask in public will be fined Dh1,000.

Buses and the Dubai Metro will resume services starting Sunday (April 26) with passengers required to follow social distancing and other precautionary measures. The Red and Green lines will operate from 7am to 11pm.

Restaurants and cafes (except for buffet and shisha), retail establisments such as malls, high-street outlets and souqs, wholesalers and maintenance shops will also be allowed to operate under certain conditions. Hotels will also open but their swimming pools, gyms, sauna and massage parlours will be off limits to the public. Companies can also start to operate, but only a maximum of 30 per cent of the workforce will be allowed in their offices. The rest must work from home.

Meanwhile, family entertainment venues, cinemas, changing rooms and prayer rooms will remain closed. Public or private gatherings are also not allowed. Violators risk legal action.

The lifting of restrictions was in line with the decisions of the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHap), the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) and the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management headed by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

"Despite the difficult circumstances the world is facing today, the UAE has set an example for dealing with the crisis. The guidance and follow up of the leadership, the combined efforts of all stakeholders and the close integration of various measures and initiatives helped the country deal effectively with the crisis. This was also made possible through the commitment of all individuals and institutions both in the private and public sector. All measures undertaken by the country have been driven by the objective of safeguarding everyone’s safety and wellbeing,” the Committee said in a statement.

The full guidelines released by the Dubai Media Office

Exercising outside the home

Members of the public are allowed to exercise outside their homes provided they do not leave their area of residence. They can undertake activities such as walking, running or cycling for 1-2 hours each time. Only a maximum of three persons can exercise at the same time. Individuals must follow preventive measures including ensuring two-metre distance from other individuals and wearing face masks.

Family visits

Considering the advent of Ramadan and the social customs and traditions surrounding the Holy Month, members of the public are permitted to visit first and second degree relatives. Gatherings should be restricted to not more than five people. However, visiting high-risk individuals (individuals above 60 years and those with underlying medical conditions) should be avoided. It is prohibited to hold gatherings in public or private places.

Ramadan tents and majlises are not allowed within homes and in public places.

Shopping malls and commercial outlets

•             Shopping malls, markets and commercial outlets will be open daily to the public from 12pm to 10pm. Furthermore, restaurants and shops are allowed to operate at a maximum of 30 per cent capacity at the shopping malls.

•             Malls and retail outlets are not allowed to hold entertainment events to avoid congestion and crowding.

•             There will be no valet parking at malls and restaurants. The first hour of parking in shopping malls will be free.

•             Only 25 per cent of the parking spaces will be open in order to reduce overcrowding in malls. The public should visit a mall only when absolutely necessary.  

•             Sterilisation operations will continue inside malls. Visitors will be subject to temperature checks at entrances and will be required to wear masks as a condition for entering a mall. Malls are also required to make sterilisers widely available to ensure the highest level of protection for visitors and workers.

•             All shopping malls will have a medical isolation room for emergency purposes in case someone in the mall is suspected to be infected with the virus.

•             Individuals above the age of 60 and children between three and 12 years of age will not be allowed to enter malls. 

•             As part of a new mandatory policy, purchases can be returned or exchanged at all stores and outlets only of there is a defect.

•             Malls and outlets are encouraged to use smart and electronic payment methods and avoid the use of cash.

Restaurants and cafes

•             Restaurants and cafés are allowed to operate normally but are not permitted to serve shisha and buffet. Dine-in customers are allowed but should occupy only a maximum of 30 per cent of the outlet’s capacity.

•             A two-metre physical distance should be strictly maintained between individuals. All diners and staff should wear masks.

•             Only single-use cutlery can be used at restaurants and cafes.

•             Restaurants are allowed to provide food delivery services between 10pm and 6am.

•             Services offered at salons for males and females will be restricted to hair and nail services. Customers can be received only by prior appointment and all preventive and health measures should be strictly observed.

Public transport

•             Public transport services, including Dubai Metro services, will be resumed from Sunday 26 April. The normal tariff system will be reintroduced. Precautionary measures will continue to be followed and there will be specific guidelines for passengers.

•             Red and Green line Metro services will operate between 7am and 11pm.

•             Preventive measures should be strictly followed by all passengers and staff in the Metro, taxis and buses and at public transport stations, including maintaining physical distance and wearing face masks.

•             Only two passengers are allowed in one taxi.

•             Water transport, tram, limousine, and car sharing services will continue to be suspended.

Administrative offices for companies and institutions

•             Employees are allowed to work in offices only if it is absolutely necessary. Their numbers should not exceed 30 per cent of the total workforce. The rest of the workforce can continue working remotely from home. Companies should constantly monitor the number of employees and visitors entering and leaving the workplace every day.

•             Meetings should be held at the office only if it is absolutely necessary. Attendees should not exceed five people and each person should maintain a two-metre physical distance from others.

•             Daily sterilisation of the workplace is mandatory and employees and visitors should be provided with sanitisers at all times. Everyone is required to wear face masks when at the workplace.

General guidelines

•             Individuals are prohibited from distributing food except through mass distribution initiatives organised under the supervision of licensed charity organisations and relevant authorities.

•             Individuals are advised not to share food with family members living in different homes. If food needs to be shared with relatives or friends living in the same area, it should be transported in sealed containers.

•             Reopening of mosques has been postponed since close proximity between worshippers can pose risks of infection. Group prayers are not authorised to be held in public places and mosques. Group prayers and Taraweeh prayers are permitted at home but the worshippers must be from the same family, residing in the house.

•             Individuals who step out of their homes for any purpose must wear a face mask and avoid touching any surfaces or their face. They must also use hand sanitisers and wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

•             Seniors and people with chronic diseases or any illness are not allowed to leave the house and must avoid going to public places to ensure their safety.

•             Domestic workers are prohibited from meeting anyone outside the home or receiving food from unknown sources. They should be provided with protective gear if they need to interact with people outside the house. They must also be guided on precautionary measures to be followed when receiving deliveries of parcels or goods (including disinfecting the packaging and using gloves).

Sectors exempted from restrictions on movement between 10pm and 6am

•             Shopping malls

•             Retail shops

•             Open souqs

•             Pharmacies

•             Financial services

•             Restaurants and cafes (shisha and buffets will not be served)

•             Food services

•             Delivery services

•             Social welfare services

•             Maintenance and repair services

•             Laundry services

•             Nail and hair salons (only through pre-booked appointments)

•             Healthcare services (hospitals and clinics)

•             Food supply outlets

•             Industrial supply chain for services and basic commodities

•             Manufacturers of medicines and providers of healthcare and medical supplies

•             Industrial sectors

•             Water and electricity sector, petrol and gas stations and district cooling services

•             Telecommunications

•             Media

•             Airports, airlines, ports, shipping

•             Customs duty and border crossings

•             Public and private security services

•             Municipality services and public and private service providers involved in garbage collection, sewage management and general cleaning and sanitation

•             Public transport (taxis, buses and Metro)

•             Construction sector

•             Hotels

•             Offices

Jobannie C. Tabada

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