Dubai announces malls, private businesses to fully reopen

Inspections will be held to ensure full adherence to guidelines.
Wednesday 03/06/2020
People wearing protective face masks walk at Mall of the Emirates during the reopening of malls,  in Dubai, UAE. (Reuters)
People wearing protective face masks walk at Mall of the Emirates during the reopening of malls, in Dubai, UAE. (Reuters)

DUBAI - Dubai will allow malls and private sector businesses to fully reopen starting Wednesday, the emirate's media office announced in a statement.

The reopening will include cinemas and movie theatres, gyms, some sporting facilities, education and training centers, entertainment facilities like ice rinks and dolphinariums.

"The Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management in Dubai announces the opening of 100% of commercial centres, companies and private establishments in the emirate, starting, Wednesday, 3 June 2020," the media office of the Dubai government said in a statement.

The move aims to enable the private sector to resume activity while ensuring precautionary measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 are enforced, the statement added. It said that working hours for companies and operating hours of malls should fall within the time permitted for public movement, which is currently between 6.00am and 11.00pm.

Private sector businesses had been allowed to work at 50% capacity since last week.

The step makes the glitzy city-state the first in the Middle East to drop nearly all restrictions to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus that have hard hit retailers and other business owners.

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

Required preventative measures include wearing face masks, maintaining a minimum distance of two metres (around 6 feet) between individuals and the regular use of hand sanitiser, the Committee stressed.

Cinemas will operate at 30% occupancy, with empty chairs being left between moviegoers. Cinemas will be sanitised between each screening and deep-cleaned every night.

A contactless system has also been put in place to allow people to book tickets and buy snacks online. In restaurants, a larger than normal distance will be kept distance between tables and there will be fewer available seats.

Inspections will be held to ensure full adherence to guidelines. Both members of the public and shopping malls will face fines if they violate guidelines, the Committee warned.

Dubai has the most diversified economy in the Gulf, relying on trade, retail, tourism and real estate. Neighbouring Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital, cordoned off the city and banned travel between regions in the emirate for a week starting Tuesday.

The UAE has so far recorded more than 35,000 coronavirus cases, with 269 deaths.