As a precaution against Covid-19 Emaar tells staff to work from home

Dubai’s biggest listed developer said the move will not affect the company's operations

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - April 25, 2019: Emaar building with branding. Thursday the 25th of April 2019. Business Bay, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Emaar Properties directed its employees to work from home starting Monday, as a precautionary measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

The move is aligned with the UAE's "Stay at Home" campaign which advocates social distancing to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the company said on Sunday.

Emaar, Dubai’s biggest-listed developer, said it would continue "to monitor global developments and prevention measures, and update its actions based on how the worldwide situation evolves".

“The world is facing one of the biggest challenges in its modern history,” Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties, said. “The UAE has set an example for precautionary and preventive measures against Covid-19. Collective efforts are vital to tide over this critical period.”

Mr Alabbar also said the company's move will not affect its operations.

“We are committed to delivering our services without compromising quality and overall customer satisfaction. We remain united as a group in providing exceptional services as per our customers’ expectations,” he said.

Emaar has interests ranging from property development to retail and hospitality. Emaar Hospitality, the subsidiary managing its hotel assets, has reportedly stopped accepting bookings in three of its hotels – Address Dubai Mall, Address Sky View and Palace Downtown – from Sunday until May 31.

"Emaar Hospitality Group cannot comment on rumours and speculation, however, we can confirm that we are consolidating our business to specific hotels and locations based on dates and demands, in order to maximise guest experience; whilst we carry out essential maintenance and renovation works across select hotels," a company spokesman told The National.

Earlier this month, Emaar said it would halt bookings at three hotels in Dubai from March 15 until August 31 because of falling demand and the the coronavirus impact on the travel industry.

The other three hotels are Address Fountain Views, Vida Creek Harbour and Vida Emirates Hills.

"Following the recent global impact on the travel industry drawing us into a state of force majeure, Emaar Hospitality Group has taken the decision to temporarily refocus its operations on a selected number of assets," an Emaar Hospitality representative told The National earlier this month.

The company's retail business, which operates the Dubai Mall, said on Saturday it would offer a virtual shopping experience on the e-commerce platform Retailers based at the mall, one of the world's biggest, need to opt in to be a part of this service, Emaar said.

“Unprecedented challenges call for innovative, collaborative and bold measures,” Emaar Malls said.