Coronavirus do’s and don’ts: What are you allowed to do in the UAE?

People play with a ball on the beach near the Burj al-Arab in Dubai before the UAE announced new measures banning public gatherings. (File photo: AFP)

As more public places and spaces in the United Arab Emirates close down and more measures are put in place to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, below are some updated rules on behavior, according to government entities:

Am I allowed to go outside for a walk?

According to the UAE Ministry of Interior, the public is advised to remain inside their homes except in cases of “absolute necessity.”

This means that people are allowed out to get essential supplies, such as food and medicine, or go to work if they are needed at the workplace.

In Dubai specifically, the government announced that all businesses should implement remote working for 80 percent of their employees starting March 25 until April 9 at least. Pharmacies, cooperative societies, grocery stores, and supermarkets are exempt from the ruling.

Read more: Coronavirus: Dubai Police arrests ‘European’ man for going to the beach

I need to drive to work or the supermarket to get groceries, how many people can I take with me?

The UAE Ministry of Interior says that public can use family cars with a maximum of three individuals per car during any journey.

Are family gatherings still allowed?

Families are advised not to visit any public places and maintain social distancing protocols during family gatherings. Family gatherings are still permitted provided participants wear face masks, according to instructions from the UAE interior ministry.

If I’m feeling unwell, can I go to the hospital for a checkup?

Authorities have advised the general public not to visit hospitals except in critical and emergency cases and to use facemasks as a precaution if they do so.

Read more: Think you have coronavirus in UAE, Saudi Arabia? Call ahead, say officials

Should I be wearing a mask any time I am out in the public?

Wearing masks is required only for individuals suffering from chronic diseases and those with flu symptoms, and not for healthy segments of society, the UAE interior ministry said citing guidelines set by the World Health Organization.

Is it allowed to take a taxi, bus or metro?

The UAE will shut down public transport from 8 p.m. Thursday, March 26 to 6 a.m. Sunday, March 29, the Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday. This means that buses and metro will not be running in the country during this time period.

If public transport reopens, the the UAE’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) previously advised that any passengers with fever and flu symptoms are advised not to take public transportation.

According to guidelines released by RTA on March 25, all passengers taking public transport and taxis must wear a face mask.

Read more: UAE to shut public transport, restrict movement from March 26-29

How many people can share a taxi?

Normally three passengers are allowed in regular taxis. However, the updated RTA rules say only two passengers are allowed to ride in a taxi, and that they must be seated in the back seats.

What is the etiquette to observe while taking the bus, tram or metro?

Before the announcement of that public transport will be suspended March 26-29, authorities said that all passengers will have to observe an alternate seating policy on public transport. Seats will be marked with an “X” between people. RTA also said demarcated floor stickers will indicate where people can stand while taking the bus, tram or metro.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:05 - GMT 07:05
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