Coronavirus: Dubai allows restaurants to host tables of 8 people, amends regulations

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Restaurants in the United Arab Emirates’ Dubai are allowed eight people at one table under new amended coronavirus restrictions that help make the dining-out experience easier, the Dubai Municipality announced in a statement on Friday.

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Groups had previously been restricted to five. This number still applies to visitors to shisha cafes, the municipality said.

Restaurants also now have the option of using dividers between tables instead of places them two-meters apart – which used to limit the capacity for guests.

Large tables that seat between five to eight people should not be placed next to each other, according to the municipality.

They must be placed two-meters apart with an isolator or divider in between.

“If large tables that [are] used for seating two different groups, it is recommended to use separators in addition to ensuring 2m distancing between the two groups,” the statement said.

Social distancing must be maintained while customers wait to avoid crowding, according to the municipality.

Physical distancing must also be maintained while customers wait or queue to avoid crowding.

Masks are mandatory at all times expect when drinking and eating, the municipality added.

A safety sign is seen at the entrance of a restaurant in Mall of the Emirates in Dubai. (File photo: Reuters)
A safety sign is seen at the entrance of a restaurant in Mall of the Emirates in Dubai. (File photo: Reuters)

The new changes are part of the UAE’s latest efforts to curb the rising number of coronavirus cases in the past few weeks.

Authorities have been handing out hefty fines to individuals and establishments who do not adhere to COVID-19 countermeasures.

On Wednesday, the country recorded its highest single-day increase since the start of the outbreak with 1,083 new infections in just 24 hours. On Thursday, the UAE detected 1,002 new infections, and 1,008 new infections on Friday.

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