UAE relaxes compulsory COVID-19 mask rules

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Compulsory COVID-19 mask rules in some areas of the United Arab Emirates have been relaxed as the country records a drop in virus cases, according to the National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA).

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NCEMA announced Wednesday that people exercising in public places, using private transportation with members of the same household, using swimming pools, beachgoers, medical center patients, and customers of beauty salons and barber shops will no longer be required by law to wear a mask.

Members of the public must still maintain a distance of two meters from one another, NCEMA added.

Local authorities will be obligated to erect signs in places where masks are no longer compulsory.

A nationwide mask mandate was introduced in response to the spread of COVID-19 in early 2020.

Offenders previously faced an $816 (AED3,000) fine for not wearing a mask in public.

The UAE implemented an aggressive vaccination program in 2021 to combat the spread of the virus.

Widespread testing and vaccination led to a dip in COVID-19 cases in August 2021, NCEMA said, which precipitated the change in mask rules on Wednesday.

NCEMA and the country’s health ministry stressed the importance of adhering to the remaining rules requiring masks in public, in a statement carried by the official news agency WAM.

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