COVID-19: Dubai eases curfew as Ramadan begins

Dubai will allow shopping malls to partially open, and cafes and restaurants to resume operations during limited hours with a maximum capacity of 30 percent, according to Dubai Media Office.

Restaurants will be able to operate, but will not be allowed to serve shisha or buffets, according to a statement released on Thursday.

Shopping malls will be able to operate partially from 12 p.m. until 10 p.m.

Dubai’s shopping centres include Mall of the Emirates, which has its own indoor ski slope, and Dubai Mall, one of the world’s largest and lies next to Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest structure.

The statement added that Dubai would also resume public transportation services including subways starting Sunday April 26, with preventative measures including wearing face masks and maintaining appropriate distance between passengers.

The United Arab Emirates announced Thursday its nationwide coronavirus(COVID-19) curfew would be shortened by two hours to now run daily from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. for the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

New guidelines also permit Dubai residents to leave the house to visit family or perform one activity during Ramadan. The guidelines set out by the Department of Economic Development outline the procedures for stage one of Dubai’s exit from the 24-hour lockdown it has imposed to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

Ramadan family gatherings up to 10 people allowed
The document states an easing of the ban on nonessential social gatherings under the current 24-hour lockdown.

While the guidelines continue to advise people to leave the house for “necessities only,” they explicitly permit “familiy visitation.”

It states that gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed.

“Social distancing should be implemented during gatherings of less than 10 people and physical contact such as handshaking, hugging, etc is not allowed,” reads the document.

“Highly advised that gatherings are few and are restricted to extended family members or very close friends during iftar/sahur,” it adds.

However, gathering for prayers remains forbidden. Household members are only allowed to pray together if they live in the same household.

Outdoor activity permitted once a day
Under the current 24-hour lockdown, Dubai residents are only allowed to leave their homes for emergencies, to buy essential groceries or medicine, or for select work purposes.

Under the new guidelines, “one outdoor activity” a day is permitted during Ramadan. The new measures therefore seemingly allow residents to go for a walk, run or cycle.

Anyone leaving their home must still wear a face mask and is advised to keep hand sanitizer with them at all times.

Dubai, one of the Gulf country’s seven emirates, has been under a 24-hour curfew since March 26, to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The UAE has so far recorded more than 8,000 cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), including 56 virus-related deaths.

– Al-Arabiya/photo/Jumeirah

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