Coronavirus: Your guide to spending Eid al-Fitr in the UAE amid COVID-19 

A man with a protective face mask, walks his dog, following the outbreak of coronavirus in Dubai. (File photo: Reuters)

As the coronavirus continues to disrupt everyday life, celebrations such as for the upcoming Eid al-Fitr will be quite different this year.

The holiday, which is expected to begin on May 23 pending the moon sighting, marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Also read: Coronavirus: Spending Eid in lockdown? Here’s how to make the most of the holiday

However, the United Arab Emirates on Thursday issued a list of guidelines that all citizens and residents can follow during the holiday as part of efforts to curb the outbreak.

Here’s all you need to know about spending Eid in the UAE:

Will there be a curfew?

The UAE Government announced earlier this week that the nationwide disinfection program has been extended starting from May 27 until further notice, and curfew will now be from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

For industrial and workers’ residential areas, the curfew was extended for an additional two hours, and is set to start from 6 p.m.

Are family gatherings prohibited?

The UAE Government urged all members of the public to avoid family gatherings and visits and advised residents to use other means of communication to share Eid greetings.

Visiting pregnant women, children, people who are at a higher risk of infection, and those with chronic illnesses is strictly prohibited.

Will mosques be open?

Mosques will remain closed during the holiday, but a muezzin – the person appointed at a mosque to lead and recite the call to prayer – will perform the call for Eid prayers after the Fajr prayers.

However, the Emirates Fatwa Council issued that the Eid prayers can be performed at home.

Is handing out Eidiyahs allowed?

Families should avoid handing out Eidiyahs, or the gift or sum of money given to children by older relatives as part of celebrations, the UAE Government advised.

Electronic methods should be used instead to avoid accidentally infecting others with the virus.

Can you exercise outdoors?

Walking, jogging, and cycling is allowed only if it is done near an individual’s residence, and for up to two hours, according to the UAE Government.

A maximum of three people are allowed to exercise together, but they must keep a two-meter distance between each other and wear a mask at all times.

Will any outlets be open during nationwide disinfection program?

Food retail stores, cooperatives, groceries, supermarkets, and pharmacies will be allowed to open for 24 hours a day during the nationwide disinfection program.

When will retail stores be allowed to operate?

Retail stores will be allowed to open from the hours of 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. while ensuring that all preventative measures are being taken.

This includes meat, fruits, and vegetables markets, mills, slaughterhouses, fish markets, coffee and tea mills, and nuts and chocolates stores.

Will shopping centers be open?

Shopping centers will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

What are the preventative measures that must be followed in retail stores and shopping centers?

Retail stores and shopping centers must operate at a 30 percent capacity, ensure that a two-meter distance between individuals is kept at all times, and deny access to people over 60 years old and children below 12.

Meanwhile, customers are allowed to shop for up to two hours.

Read more:

Coronavirus: All you need to know about Saudi Arabia’s 24-hour Eid al-Fitr lockdown

Coronavirus: All you need to know about UAE’s stricter fines for violating rules

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Last Update: Thursday, 21 May 2020 KSA 19:16 - GMT 16:16
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