Dubai announced that all restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, coffee shops and food services establishments in the city would close for two weeks from Monday, March 23, in a move to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The news follows an announcement Monday morning that all restaurants in the UAE would close from Wednesday as part of a general closing of all malls, shopping centers, commercial centers, and open markets except for fish, vegetable and meat markets.
“Restaurants and cafes at hotels and hotel apartments serving guests only, and food delivery services and transportation are exempt from the closure,” the statement read.
The latest measures are the latest attempt to limit human-to-human contact in the UAE, which is the primary way in which the deadly coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, is spread.
As part of preventive measures, all restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, coffee shops and food service establishments across Dubai will be closed for two weeks starting from today Monday 23 March, 2020. pic.twitter.com/agkeWAX4KC— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) March 23, 2020
The UAE first introduced measures in February, when it announced measures including stopping flights to Iran, the country which has been the center of the outbreak in the Middle East. All flights to and from the UAE are now due to be suspended from Wednesday.
Authorities have begun to enforce some of the bans. In Dubai, authorities closed down nine shisha cafes for disobeying orders to close. On Sunday, Dubai police arrested a European citizen for refusing to leave a beach.
The economic fight
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, and authorities react with shuttering businesses and closing borders, analysts have begun to sound the alarm that the coronavirus will cause an economic recession, which may kill more people than the virus.
The UAE government has responded by opening its considerable coffers to help the economy and those effected. On March 14, the UAE Central Bank announced a 100 billion dirham ($27.2 billion) economic support scheme to support the country’s banking system. Two days earlier, Dubai announced a smaller 1.5 billion dirham package for businesses.
Credit ratings company Moody’s Investors Service said later that the central bank’s package would “soften coronavirus’ blow to economy and banks.”
On Sunday, the UAE approved an additional 16 billion dirhams, which has brought the total economic stimulus package to 126 billion dirhams in the country, according to a Tweet from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of the emirate of Dubai.