*This article is kept updated as restrictions are lifted. Last updated 1st June.
After weeks of all of Dubai being in a 24-hour lockdown due to the national sterilisation programme taking place, The Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management announced a partial easing of restrictions on movement in Dubai. However, there are still stringent regulations in place in order to protect public health and to contain the spread of COVID-19. The restrictions have been eased in the hope of jumpstarting commercial and economic activity while observing the UAE health authorities’ precautionary and preventative measures. But what does that actually mean for you? British Mums have put together a summary of frequently asked questions.
Remember, in order to keep the spread of the coronavirus under control and not damage the positive strides made by the lockdown, social distancing and maintaining proper hygiene remain a high priority. Just because you are now permitted more freedom it doesn’t mean you should throw caution to the wind. Life is not quite back to the normal we knew and we all have a responsibility to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and healthy.
Must I wear a mask when I leave my home?
Face masks no longer need to be worn in public in Dubai while exercising. People can now temporarily remove their face masks in the following conditions:
When eating or drinking while indoors or outdoors
Driving alone or with family members (vehicle occupancy is still restricted to three people, including the driver)
Engaging in strenuous exercise
Swimming or skydiving
Undergoing specific medical treatment
Those exempt from wearing face masks in public at all include children under the age of 6, people with cognitive, intellectual or sensory disorders that hamper their ability to breathe or communicate and people who require supplemental oxygen or have severe respiratory conditions.
People with chronic illnesses, children, the elderly and pregnant people have generally been advised to stay at home for their protection.
What time is the curfew?
From Wednesday 27th May 11pm until 6am. During the restricted period, you may only leave your home for medical emergencies.
May I visit family and friends?
You may visit first and second-degree family members but gatherings should be restricted to not more than five people and visiting high-risk individuals (individuals above 60 years and those with underlying medical conditions) should be avoided. From 20th May, people should avoid visiting family members.
Can divorced parents still see their kids if they don’t live in the same house?
Yes, you may.
My residency visa or Emirates ID is expiring soon. What should I do?
On 13 April, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship announced that visas and entry permits that expired after 1 March 2020 are now valid until the end of December 2020. This includes visit visas, residency visas and ID cards. For residents it applies to those both inside and outside the UAE. For visitors it applies only to those who are still in the UAE. Read more here.
Can I exercise?
Yes. People can step out of their houses to exercise for up to two hours a day, provided they wear masks and stay two metres apart.
From 27th May gyms, sports academies and fitness clubs may reopen. Gyms will operate at 50 per cent capacity, require the wearing of masks at all times and must install plastic dividers between machines, while changing facilities will remain closed.
How have things changed with regards to supermarkets and shops?
Supermarkets, food outlets, groceries and pharmacies will be allowed to operate round the clock. Children under the age of 12 and adults aged above 60 will continue to be restricted from entering shops.
Can we go to a restaurant?
Dine-in cafes and restaurants have been allowed to resume business with a maximum capacity of 30%. Restaurants and cafes are not permitted to serve shisha or buffet dining and customers must observe social distancing.
Are malls open?
Yes, malls will be allowed to operate between 10am and 10pm daily. Children aged 3 – 12 and adults aged above 60 will continue to be restricted from entering shopping centres. From 20th May mall timings change to being open from 9am to 7pm. Maximum of 2 hours can be spent in a mall.
Can I go for beauty treatments?
Hair salons have reopened, but prior booking must be made and services will be restricted to hair and nail salons.
Have any parks or beaches reopened?
Beaches in Dubai, along with major parks have reopened and the public may visit JBR, Al Mamzar, Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim beaches. Members of the public must adhere to the standard public safety measures and guidelines introduced for Covid-19 when using the facilities. Children under the age of 12 and adults above 60 are allowed on the beaches and parks. All visitors must wear masks and social distance. No masks are necessary while in the water. Gloves are not necessary in open beaches, however they must be worn in parks and closed areas such as the Dubai Frame and Ski Dubai.
Kite Beach will be open from 7am to 7pm. Children under 12 and adults above 60 are not allowed near the Kite Beach mall area, however, they can access the beach side.
Dubai Parks have reopened to the public. A maximum of five people are permitted to gather at reopened parks across the city after Dubai announced the easing of certain COVID-19 restrictions. Water sports, cycling and skydives are also permitted. Private hotel beaches may reopen and trams and Maritime transport including Dubai Ferry and Dubai Abra will also resume service.
Which entertainment facilities remain closed?
Cinema, gyms and entertainment centres including ice rinks have been reopened.
How does the ease of restrictions impact offices?
Office hours would return to normal, from six hours per day during Ramadan. Read here.
What is happening with flights?
Starting 21 May 2020, Emirates will resume scheduled passenger flights to 9 cities in 8 countries, including connections between the UK and Australia via Dubai. Flights will go to Chicago, Frankfurt, London Heathrow, Madrid, Melbourne, Milan, Paris, Sydney and Toronto. From 27th May Dubai International Airport will return to full operations, following final approval from authorities. And all residents returning from abroad, which is permitted from 1st June, must adhere to a 14-day quarantine at home.
UAE Residents Stuck Abroad Can Return From 1st June, provided that the residents meet specific criteria.
Residents who wish to return to the country must have a valid residency visa in the UAE. If you are eligible and wish to return to the Emirates, you must register with a Residents’ Entry Permit via online government services: smartservices.ica.gov.ae.
Which restrictions remain?
Social-distancing guidelines, requiring people to keep a 2m distance from others outside their household must be followed at all times, and masks remain mandatory outside of the home. In Eid, people were told they should avoid meeting family and friends, especially the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases. That has not changed. Children below 12, adults above 60, and people with chronic diseases or prone to infections are still not allowed to enter malls, cinemas or sports facilities.
Full details of what was announced, courtesy of Arabian Business.
- People can leave their homes between 6am and 11pm without a permit.
- Face masks must be worn, gloves are optional.
- The public will be required to strictly follow precautionary measures which include maintaining physical distance from others as per guidelines and wearing a face mask.
- No public or private gatherings.
- Public movement will now be restricted between 11pm and 6am and during this period the public will be allowed to leave their homes only for medical emergencies.
- Members of the public are permitted to visit first and second-degree relatives.
- Gatherings should be restricted to not more than five people.
- Visiting high-risk individuals (individuals above 60 years and those with underlying medical conditions) should be avoided.
- Members of the public are allowed to exercise outside their homes provided they do not leave their area of residence.
- They can undertake activities such as walking, running, or cycling for 1-2 hours each time.
- A maximum of three people can exercise together at the same time.
- People must follow preventive measures including ensuring two-metre distance from other individuals and wearing face masks.
Malls, restaurants and hotels
- To open for 10 hours, from 12pm to 10pm.
- Visitor numbers must not exceed 30% of capacity.
- Restaurants and shops in malls are allowed to operate at a maximum of 30% capacity.
- Those older than 60 years and children between the ages of 3 and 12 years are not permitted.
- Visitors to be submitted to temperature checks; must wear masks.
- No valet parking at malls and restaurants. The first hour of parking in shopping malls will be free.
- Only 25% of the parking spaces will be open in order to reduce overcrowding in malls.
- All shopping malls will have a medical isolation room for emergency purposes in case someone in the mall is suspected to be infected with the virus.
- As part of a new mandatory policy, purchases can be returned or exchanged at all stores and outlets only of there is a defect.
- Hotels will be allowed to operate without opening pools, gyms, sauna and massage parlours.
- Restaurants are allowed to provide food delivery services between 10pm and 6am.
- Services offered at salons for males and females will be restricted to hair and nail services.
Metro, Buses & Taxis
- Public transport services, including Dubai metro services, will resume Sunday.
- Red and green line metro services will operate between 7am and 11pm.
- Passengers to follow social distancing measures.
- Only two passengers are allowed in one taxi.
- Employees are allowed to work in offices only if it is absolutely necessary.
- Their numbers should not exceed 30% of the total workforce.
- Face masks to be worn.
- Meetings should be held at the office only if it is absolutely necessary.