Health officials in the United Arab Emirates have announced that COVID-19 safety rules will be relaxed to increase the capacity of people allowed at weddings, in hotels and in shopping malls across the country.
The National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) announced on Sunday that hotels will now be allowed to run at full capacity, while shopping centers, restaurants and cafes can now operate at an 80 percent capacity, with the seating limit increased to 10 persons per table.
Face masks remain mandatory.
Cinemas, recreational facilities, galleries, and museums will be allowed an 80 percent operating capacity, while the operating capacity for events is set to 60 percent, provided that social distancing, face masks and regular sanitization guidelines are still observed.
The operating capacity of wedding and event halls have increased to 60 percent, providing that the number of attendees per event does not exceed 300 and all preventive measures are implemented.
Public transportation can now operate at 75 percent capacity.
“This step aligns with the UAE's strategy to strike a balance between maintaining public health and resuming activities in vitals sectors, and support efforts to drive sustainable recovery and gradually resume all activities in the UAE,” NCEMA said in a statement.
NCEMA reiterated its previously ruling that anyone attending live events and exhibitions must have had both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. A PCR test taken in the 48 hours prior to the event is also required.
It also stipulated that attendees could attend “provided that their second dose is no more than six months old, and no more than three months old for senior citizens and those with chronic diseases.”
NCEMA also urged establishments to use the 'green pass' protocol for certain categories of events and activities to help contain the spread of the virus.
NCEMA announced Sunday that more than 80 percent of the UAE have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while more than 72 percent have been fully inoculated.