Dubai eases coronavirus restrictions as it marks Ramadan: 10 questions answered

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The emirate of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates has reopened malls, cafes, and restaurants and eased lockdown restrictions it initially imposed last month to prevent the spread of coronavirus as the city marked the beginning of Ramadan.

The announcement of lifting coronavirus measures on Friday is part of the Dubai government's first phase of easing of restrictions.

Below is a visual representation of the places that are either open or closed in the city.

open/closed places in Dubai
open/closed places in Dubai

The wider UAE also announced on Thursday that its nationwide coronavirus 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.

Here are all your questions about the lifting of restrictions answered:

Will I be able to leave my home from now on?

Yes, individuals across Dubai will be allowed to leave their homes between 6.00 am and 10.00 pm without a permit. The public will be required to strictly follow precautionary measures which include maintaining social distancing from others while wearing a face mask. Those who do not wear a mask will be fined of AED1,000.

Will I be allowed to exercise in public?

Individuals will be allowed to exercise outside their homes but only within their area of residence and undertake activities such as walking, running, or cycling for only 1-2 hours each time. Only a maximum of three persons can exercise as a group at the same time. People exercising outside must follow preventive measures including ensuring two-meter distance from others at all times while also ensuring they wear a face mask.

Will I be able to visit my family and relatives during the day? Can I host an iftar at my house for example?

Individuals will be permitted to visit their first- and second-degree relatives at their homes. Family visits will be restricted to no more than five people per gathering. Visiting high-risk individuals above the age of 60 and those with underlying medical conditions should be avoided as a rule. It will be prohibited to hold gatherings in either public or private places.

Will I be able to go out and eat at a restaurant?

Peope eat at a restaurant in Dubai on August 30, 2018. (AFP)
Peope eat at a restaurant in Dubai on August 30, 2018. (AFP)

Dine-in customers will be allowed in restaurants and cafes but can only occupy only a maximum of 30% of the outlet’s capacity at any given time. A two-meter social distancing measure will be strictly maintained between individuals while dining and all customers and staff are to wear face masks.

Restaurants will be also allowed to provide food delivery services between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. during the nighty curfew lockdown.

Can I get a haircut or a mani-pedi?

Yes, male and female salons are permitted to re-open from 12 p.m. until 9 p.m. but will be restricted to hair and nail services only. All customers must make prior appointments before heading to the salons.

Are shopping malls open? What are the timings, and will I be able to take my whole family?

Shopping malls, markets, and commercial outlets will be open daily to the public from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. All restaurants and shops inside the malls will only accept a maximum of 30 percent capacity during working hours.

Malls will only open 25% of the parking spaces to ensure there is no overcrowding in malls.

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

Read more: Dubai to allow shopping malls, restaurants to reopen with restrictions

Will I be able to use public transport move around?

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) confirmed that the emirate will resume its metro, public buses, and taxi services starting Sunday, April 26. RTA confirmed that ongoing protective health measures for taxi rides will continue such as limiting the number of riders to two at the back seat and maintaining isolators between the driver and passengers. However, water transport, tram, limousine, and car-sharing services will continue to be suspended under the existing guidelines.

Read more: Dubai to resume metro, public bus services starting April 26

Will I be able to share iftar or suhoor meals with my neighbors this Ramadan?

Individuals are prohibited from distributing food except through mass distribution initiatives organized by licensed charity organizations and relevant authorities. Ramadan tents and majlises are also prohibited within homes and in public places.

Are mosques reopening as part of the lifting of restrictions? Can I pray Taraweeh with my family inside my home?

No. Reopening of mosques has been postponed since close proximity between worshippers can pose risks of infection, according to the Government of Dubai. Group prayers are not authorized to be held in public places and mosques. Group prayers and Taraweeh prayers will be permitted inside homes but the worshippers must be from the same family and residing in the same house.

Read more: UAE to continue traditional Ramadan cannon firing without spectators amid coronavirus concerns

Will I be able to head back to the office and conduct meetings with colleagues?

Employees will be allowed to work in offices but only in absolutely necessary cases. Physical capacity at workplaces will continue to be limited to 30% of the total workforce.

Meetings will be allowed inside offices only in absolutely necessary cases and limiting attendees to five people per session. Each person attending a meeting should maintain a two-meter social distance measure from other attendees.

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